US 101 is the only continuous north/south route through Marin and Sonoma Counties and, therefore, is the principal route for local and interregional travel serving commercial, recreational, and commute traffic. Consequently, Caltrans has proposed a project that will:
- Meet the needs of existing and forecasted travel demand to 2030
- Improve AM/PM traffic congestion
- Reduce HOV user delay for vanpools and express buses
- Address physical deficiencies to improve safety:
- Increase visibility (sight distance)
- Improve drainage to address reoccurring flooding
- Provide wider shoulders for emergencies
To achieve this, the MSN project area will be upgraded from an expressway to a freeway consistent with the freeway segments north and south of the MSN project area. This upgrade will involve the addition of interchanges. Interchanges will improve safety by:
- Providing controlled access to US 101 from a number of roadways and driveways that currently intersect US 101. Interchanges will be accessed via a new frontage road system.
- Allowing vehicles to accelerate/deaccelerate on the interchange ramps instead of on the freeway itself.
- Providing continuous pedestrian/bicycle access between Novato and Petaluma with a combination of Class 1 and Class 2 bicycle paths.