Official: Highway expansion funded; land talks ‘finishing up’

Highway 156 is shown from a hillside.

A resident’s question about expanding Highway 156 at Congressman Sam Farr’s town hall meeting Monday spurred dialogue that included a supervisor confirming the state had earmarked necessary funds to move ahead on the project, possibly starting in 2016.
Farr, D-Carmel, hosted his annual town hall meeting at the county board chambers, 481 Fourth St. When an attending resident expressed concern about congestion on Highway 156 between San Juan Bautista and Hollister, Supervisor Margie Barrios spoke up and said the funding was “already earmarked” and the project could start in 2016 with plans to have it done by 2017.
In 2008, Caltrans approved an environmental impact report for the project. The plan would expand Highway 156 from San Juan Bautista to a point near Hollister into a four-lane, at-grade expressway. The cost of the project is estimated at $47.2 million for construction—the total estimated is $81.2 million—and sources for the money are set to include local impact fees along with state funds and inter-regional funds, according to a county transportation report.
Barrios at the town hall said Caltrans has earmarked funds for the project and officials are “finishing up” negotiations for needed property.
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