An overhead image shows the conceptual plan for a new interchange at Highways 101 and 25 south of Gilroy. Graphic by Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Transportation officials see a proposed interchange at Highways 101 and 25 as a way to relieve the chronic congestion through the corridor.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority hosted a virtual meeting June 9 to give the public an update on the years-in-the-making project south of Gilroy city limits.

While still being designed, the project would increase the length of the southbound Highway 101 offramp by more than 1,000 feet, according to Project Manager Karsten Adam, with the goal of preventing vehicles from stacking on 101 during peak commute hours.

Traffic signals would be installed where the offramp meets Highway 25, and traffic would turn east over a newly constructed four-lane overpass that spans Highway 101.

Once crossing the overpass, which would be located slightly north of the current overcrossing, another signalized intersection will be constructed where the northbound off-ramp meets Highway 25.

The overall project, which also includes widening Highway 101 from Monterey Road to Highway 129 as well as extending Santa Teresa Boulevard to Highway 25, will be built in phases due to limited funding, Adam said. The first phase, which includes the new overpass, is expected to cost $100 million, according to Adam, funded by Senate Bill 1 and the 2016 voter-approved Measure B.

The project is currently in the design phase, and an addendum is being drafted for the 2013 VTA Board-approved Environmental Impact Report for the overall Highway 101 widening project. Construction on the overpass could begin in summer 2023 and wrap up in early 2026, according to Adam.

The existing interchange was constructed in 1988 as a temporary way to prevent drivers from turning left on Highway 101 to Highway 25, Adam said.

Since then, traffic has increased heavily, with vehicles looking to turn onto Highway 25 spilling onto the Highway 101 shoulder and backing up to the Monterey Road onramp.

In addition, Adam said the current configuration of the interchange has seen “higher than average accident rates” compared to statewide collision rates.

The project would eliminate Highway 101 access from Castro Valley and Mesa roads, which are popular spots for commuters looking to avoid the bottleneck that occurs when the highway goes down from three lanes to two at Monterey Road.

Adam said the VTA would contact affected landowners once the design is finalized. The project, as currently designed, would cut into some farmland and alter access to a home located near the current overpass.

In addition, the conceptual plans show the northbound Highway 101 off- and on-ramps standing where the Garlic Shoppe currently operates. Representatives from the VTA or the Garlic Shoppe had not returned requests for further information as of press time.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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