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Silicon Valley produces between 20- 25% of California's annual gross domestic product. This economic juggernaut has fueled revenue and job growth, but it has also created overcrowding on San Mateo Highway 101, the major commute route between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Year after year, the rush hour starts earlier in the morning and ends later in the evening. Travel times have increased while predictability has decreased. A stalled vehicle at peak hour can create a ripple effect lasting for minutes or hours, depending on how quickly a tow truck can weave through backed-up traffic.
The impacts are economic as well as social. More time commuting means less productive time at work and fewer hours for relaxing at home.
Getting people out of their cars and onto transit has helped, but it’s difficult to promote bus riding when a significant incentive is lacking: Highway 101 in San Mateo County has no carpool lanes north of Whipple Avenue, forcing buses and carpoolers to travel in the same congested lanes as solo drivers.
A Solution for an Urban Corridor
Long-time Peninsula commuters know that Caltrans has widened Highway 101 many times. Which begs the question: Is there any space left over for a widening project.?
Suprisingly, the answer is yes. Caltrans engineers discovered that by shifting the centerline of the freeway, threading it through the right of way, they could build within the existing limits. This means that much of the freeway needs to be reconfigured during construction, but the time and money saved by eliminating right of way acquistions will be enormous.
Construction on this $514 million project will begin in the winter of 2019 with an estimated completion of Fall 2021. Project funding comes from a variety of sources including SB 1 funds.
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