Ready for flight

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Leaders from throughout the region gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the opening of the Highway 152/156 flyover, six weeks ahead of schedule. The flyover officially opens Thursday morning between 5 and 6 a.m.

Traffic will be allowed for the first time on the 152-156
flyover Thursday morning around 5 or 6 a.m., a spokeswoman
said.
HOLLISTER

Officials from throughout the region held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate Thursday morning’s long-awaited opening of the new flyover at the intersection of Highways 152 and 156.

The completed flyover is expected to ease congestion by lifting eastbound Highway 152 traffic over the connector, according to a Valley Transit Authority statement. It’s part of a larger, $34 million improvement project at the dangerous site.

At the ceremony today, the Sobrato High School “SWING” Marching Band performed rousing tunes, accompanied by enthusiastic honking from passing trucks. Santa Clara County Supervisor Donald Gage, a VTA board member, acted as master of ceremonies.

Gage introduced a string of 10 speakers including VTA General Manager Michael Burns and U.S. Congressman Jerry McNerney.

“Today I am happy to be here six weeks ahead of schedule,” Gage said. “I have seen this road backed up for 13 miles all the way from here to Tenth Street in Gilroy.”

He added that the successful cooperation among many government agencies had resulted in a major advance in the quality of life for anyone needing to use the state route.

Each speaker talked glowingly of the increased safety and decreased traffic congestion that the flyover and truck-climbing lane are expected to bring.

Hollister City Councilman Brad Pike and Gilroy City Councilman Dion Bracco both spoke about effects it will have on area cities.

“This safety project means the bottleneck is gone,” Pike said. “Hollister residents will immediately reap the benefits as hazards and congestion are minimized.”

Bracco called it the “crown jewel for all the involved agencies.”

“These trucks represent millions of dollars a day in local revenue,” Bracco said, “and as the owner of a towing company in Gilroy for the last 25 years, I have seen firsthand the need for improvement of 152 and 156.”

Once the ceremony finished, the crowd quickly cleared the area to allow Caltrans to begin striping the flyover so it’s ready for Thursday morning’s first cars and trucks.

“It should be around 5 or 6 a.m. that traffic will be allowed to start rolling through,” said Jennie Hwang Loft, a VTA spokeswoman.

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