Officials celebrate Nash Bypass opening

Dozens of people gathered Oct. 5 for the official opening of River Parkway Road, otherwise known as the Nash Road Bypass. The bypass has been a highly anticipated project among city, county and San Benito High School officials.

The Hollister City Council approved the plans in November 2016, citing safety concerns for students crossing the street to attend classes.

Multiple city and county agencies were applauded for their cooperative efforts. San Benito County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Jerry Muenzer hailed the project as an example of intergovernmental accomplishments.

“A day like today shows how we can come together and get something done,” said Muenzer.

Anthony Botehlo, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, shared a similar sentiment. “We were able to get three agencies together and come up with a solution,” said Botehlo. “And what a solution it is.”

Four construction projects were happening simultaneously through and around Nash Road. The timing of the road’s closure is dependent on the completion of a bypass road, which is intertwined with the various projects.

The projects included in the plans are a park, a crosstown pipeline, the bypass road and the Nash Road closure. The bypass being created to divert traffic is also the first stage of a new county park.

Following the opening of River Parkway, the new county park also opened. Botehlo said at the ceremony that as time goes on, improvements will continue to be made to the park.

Reid Sanders, a representative for Senator Anthony Cannella, and Vanessa Gonzalez, a representative for State Assemblymember Anna Caballero, both presented certificates of recognition to Botehlo.

Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said the project was an example of agencies and government officials overcoming differences. “There’s a lot of talk about how the city (and) the county or the different agencies don’t work together,” said Velazquez. “But that’s not true.”

School and county officials had originally hoped the road could close to weekday traffic in August, providing a bypass around the school to divert traffic from the center of the sprawling campus. However, the opening was pushed to sometime in October.

Nash Road is expected to close for the first time on Oct. 15 from 7am to 7pm.

Superintendent Sean Tennebaum said the project was a “historic moment,” and would greatly benefit the roughly 12,000 people who cross the road everyday.

“This project is going to ensure generations and decades of San Benito High School students have a safe journey to and from class,” said Tennenbaum.

“The power of collaboration is today.”

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