File photo: Chris Mora

Construction of a new traffic roundabout at the intersection of State Routes 25 and 156 near Hollister continues this week with work taking place behind protective concrete barriers, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Recently installed K-rail at all four approaches to the construction zone serve as protective barriers for construction crews. Traffic signals now include timing for protected left-hand turns at all four approaches to the intersection, says a press release from Caltrans. Signals have also been adjusted to permit additional time for green lights during commute hours to maximize pass through of vehicles.

Caltrans officials say these changes have helped commute times stabilize and reach more predictable levels.

Progress continues to depend on the weather, with the next scheduled activities to include the continuation of roadway excavation and drainage construction.

Speed limits throughout the construction zone have been reduced to 35 mph for the safety of construction crews and the traveling public, according to Caltrans.

The roundabout project is designed to reduce the number and severity of collisions at the intersection of State Routes 25 and 156, where the previous signalized intersection had been experiencing a pattern of broadside and rear end collisions, Caltrans said.

The contractor for the $10.7 million construction project is Graniterock of San Jose. 

The roundabout is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023.

Weather impacts work schedule

Construction on the Highway 156 Corridor Improvement Project continues east of San Juan Bautista with much of the progress dependent on weather conditions, Caltrans added in a separate press release.

Crews were successful in removing an abandoned utility gas line at Union Road, which PG&E had flagged for containing potentially hazardous substances. Field tests revealed the 12-inch gas line to be free of toxins, Caltrans said. Removal of the line means that roadway excavation near Union Road can proceed.

Earthwork between Mission Vineyard and Union Road will start with lime treatment of the original ground to help stabilize and harden the previously irrigated soil. Evaluations of the wet grade are ongoing, and weather and soil conditions will continue to be factors in determining the progress of large scale earthwork efforts.

The San Benito Route 156 Improvement Project will construct a four-lane expressway immediately south of the existing Highway 156 alignment. The 5.2-mile project will begin in San Juan Bautista at The Alameda and continue to just east of Hwy. 156 Business Route (Fourth Street) in Hollister.

During construction, access is closed from Highway 156 to Mission Vineyard Road in San Juan Bautista. Also, travelers will not be able to access San Juan Hollister Road from Union Road, according to Caltrans. 

Updates for the San Benito Route 156 Improvement Project can be found on the Transportation Updates page of the Council of San Benito County Governments at:

This project is expected to conclude in Summer 2025.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


  1. The traffic engineer that thought of putting a roundabout at 156 / 152 should be fired! Folks not familiar with roundabouts will be highly dissapointed when they see a further slowdown of traffic caused by the roundabout.

  2. People using the road make mistakes (like speeding, running stop signs and red lights, turning left in front of oncoming traffic), always have and always will. Crashes will always be with us, but they need not result in fatalities or serious injury.

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world – the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes – (much more so than comparable signals). Modern roundabouts require a change in speed and alter the geometry of one of the most dangerous parts of the system – intersections. The reduction in speed to about 20 mph and sideswipe geometry mean that, when a crash does happen at a modern roundabout, you might need a tow truck, but rarely an ambulance. Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or FHWA for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts.

  3. Why is it that every time I do see construction going on there are about 10 workers watching one guy work, I mean how many useless supervisors do you actually need standing around. complete the project and stop this inconvenience for all commuters…..

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