At some point later this month, drivers and pedestrians should
expect a headache at one of the city’s busiest intersections and
they should give themselves some extra time.
Also with this story: a map of the Highway 25 bypass detour
At some point later this month, drivers and pedestrians should expect a headache at one of the city’s busiest intersections and they should give themselves some extra time.
The intersection of Sunnyslope Road and Airline Highway is set to close for 30 days at an undetermined date in one of the last steps of the $49 million Highway 25 bypass project. Heavy machines and construction crews will take the place of the congested cross-section as they build a new intersection connecting to the highway.
The finished bypass will feature six lanes of traffic running from Sunnyslope Road to East Park Street and four lanes of traffic running from East Park Street to Bolsa Road, along with six “signalized” intersections.
An official date for when the construction and the subsequent closure will begin has not yet been set. But Graniterock Pavex, the construction firm contracted for the job, has 30 days to get it done regardless of when it starts, said Transportation Planning Manager Mary Dinkuhn.
“Safety is our main concern,” Dinkuhn said. “As far as traffic goes, people should prepare for the worst. We’re just thrilled that in just a few months we’ll be done.”
Businesses like Kmart, Safeway and Target will remain open, and delivery truck entrances will remain the same. According to a Council of San Benito Governments flyer, drivers should avoid the intersection, especially before and after local schools are in session. That’s between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Drivers also should steer clear during the evening rush hour from
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“The bypass should be a big advantage,” said retired teacher Jim Libby of Hollister, who was shopping at Safeway on Wednesday. “I think a 30-day closure is worth it – whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Funding for the bypass comes mostly from local tax dollars with $18 million in “traffic impact fees” levied on new home construction. Measure A, a sales tax initiative that ran from 1989 to 1999, provided $13.7 million, and the Hollister Redevelopment Agency set aside $8.6 million of local property tax money. The state chipped in $7 million, and the federal government contributed $2.1 million.
Resident David Rubcic, a civil engineer who works on traffic issues in Hollister but is not involved with the bypass project, said 30 days of road closure is a small price to pay for the added convenience to drivers once the bypass is built.
“This project is going to help traffic tremendously,” he said. “It will help people get through town, around town, help people commute and help neighborhoods because people wont have to cut through them.”