SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Drivers using Highway 101 in San Mateo County have watched for two years as Caltrans spends more than half a billion dollars installing new express lanes. The project is now postponed to next year. As rush hour driving times slow down, frustration mounts. We respond to viewer complaints and this is one of them.
The paving of these new smooth pathways is complete, so why can’t we use them now?
Traffic on the 101 in San Mateo County is back to pre-pandemic levels and the construction of new expressways isn’t helping. ABC7 Morning’s Jobina Fortson said Thursday, “Look at slow traffic here. This is due to the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes project. We’re looking at average speeds of around 12 and 24 miles per hour.”
The Congestion Reduction Project introduces toll lanes – free for cars with three or more passengers, reduced fares for two passengers or clean air vehicles. Solo drivers can pay full fare to use the express lanes. The cost will increase or decrease depending on the congestion of the lane.
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However, there have been delays. The completion target at the start of the project was mid-2022. But two weeks ago project manager Leo Scott announced that the opening date would be next year, possibly February or March.
“The contractor chose to do things out of order and as a result had to take corrective action which added time to the schedule,” Scott said.
These beautiful new expressways have cool pavement but are blocked with orange beacons, which frustrates drivers.
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Mohammad Muftah, Uber driver: “Open it, please.”
Sara, driver: “I don’t like being stuck in traffic jams.”
Brad Johnson, construction worker: ” What are they doing ? What are they really doing for a living? We don’t pay for that.
Crews have yet to finish installing the air toll sensors and that work is done at night, but Caltrans keeps those cones in place all day.
Brad Johnson: “I work in construction so I understand guys are going to take breaks, but you don’t put cones on a live freeway and then you go take a break.”
Dan Noies: “For months and months.”
Brad Johnson: “Yeah.”
Dan Noies: “More than a year – two years.”
Brad Johnson: “There are just ghost cones everywhere.”
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The I-Team traveled to the San Mateo County Transit District to interview the Chairman of the Joint Powers Authority which oversees the Express Lanes project.
Ricardo Medina: “There are sensors, there is manufacturing that still needs to be installed. And there are tests that are going on, it’s true.”
Dan Noies: “But, stage work happens overnight, doesn’t it?”
Ricardo Medina: “A lot of that detail with the sensor reading happens overnight.”
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Medina staff say these markers are actually attached to the sidewalk with an adhesive, so they should be upgraded to moving cones. They also need to install roadside toll signs and equipment, but that job will also happen overnight.
Dan Noies: “I just see in other parts of the Bay Area that they are – if there’s construction overnight – they put the cones up, and they do it overnight, and in the morning , they left. Why can’t you do this?”
Ricardo Medina: “I think what we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t add confusion as we start going through the testing cycle.”
After a 20 minute interview, we couldn’t agree on the wisdom of keeping these lanes blocked during the day, even when no work is being done.
Dan Noies: “I’m sorry, Ricco. It still doesn’t make sense to me.”
Ricardo Medina: “It’s okay, Dan.”
But Medina says they listen to feedback from drivers.
“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in terms of security or if it’s just trying to get things done, setting a timeline. And so we’re trying to keep all of that accounted for. “, did he declare.
Medina says he wants to hear what you think at [email protected]
If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live
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