Local leaders updated on Nash Road bypass

Busy stretch in middle of San Benito High School to be reconstructed next year

SAFETY MEASURE A bypass on Nash Road between Monterey and West Streets aims to make the busy stretch of road at San Benito High School safer for pedestrians and motorists. Construction is set to begin in 2018, with a total project cost of $1.3 million.

Local leaders got an update on a new traffic channel that will make it easier and safer for pedestrians and motorists to drive through a busy stretch of road at the sprawling San Benito High School campus in Hollister.

Located on Nash Road, between Monterey and West Streets, the new bypass is still in the design phase. Construction is set to being next year.

Officials from Hollister, San Juan Bautista and San Benito County received an update on the Nash Road bypass during last week’s intergovernmental committee meeting.

On Thursday Dec. 7, the group learned that 60 percent of the bypass design documents from the engineering firm were back with the county, ready for review.

“The information that I have from the Resource Management Agency is that the consultant and the RMA department have been coordinating with the school’s architects and staff regularly as well as the water district’s engineers on the project,” County Management Analyst Louie Valdez said. “Sixty percent of the design documents are on the desk of [Capital Program Manager] Adam Goldstone for review. They’re working on providing comments to those consultants and getting those back to them as quickly as possible.”

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors approved a $153,140 contract in September with Santa Cruz-based Mesiti-Miller Engineering for design services. The contract covers work from  September to Dec. 31, 2018.

Construction of the Nash Road bypass is expected to begin early next summer. Hollister Vice Mayor Karson Klauer wondered if the timeline was realistic.

“Does anyone actually think that it can be done in that timeframe?” Klauer asked. “It was at 30 percent design like eight months ago, now we’re at 60 percent design. We’ve still got to get to 100 percent, then go out to bid, then choose a bid, then you’ve got to have time for those people to come out and actually do it. It’s taken us a year and a half to get to 60 percent design from just having talks. I don’t know how you actually build a road in eight months.”

Valdez informed Klauer that he’s been working closely with RMA Director John Guertin to push the project through.

“We’re going to try,” Valdez said. “How it ends up at the beginning of the summer or getting close to that, we’ll provide the intergovernmental committee with reports. We’re going to push as hard as we can.”

Klauer said it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the project took longer.

“It would just be good to have everybody under a reasonable expectation of when it’s going to happen,” Klauer said.

In November 2016, the Hollister City Council, San Benito County Board of Supervisors and the San Benito High School District approved an interagency agreement to close a busy portion of Nash Road near the high school due to safety concerns. The bypass road needs to be constructed and opened before the closure goes into effect.

The project has a total cost of around $1.3 million. Funds are from voter-approved Measure G passed in 2014. The goal is to complete construction by August 2018.

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