Caltrans has two curve correction projects in the works on Highway 25 for the next year, including one on the bypass heading in and out of Hollister.
One of those projects includes a “route deficiency correction” to the relatively tight curve north of Santa Ana Road and east of San Felipe Road. The other project is a “super elevation adjustment and culvert extension just north of La Gloria Road on Highway 25 south of Hollister.
Caltrans is continuing its planning work on a third curve restoration on Highway 25 south of Highway 146 near Pinnacles National Park, but that construction schedule is for the fall of 2020.
As for the bypass and La Gloria Road area projects, Caltrans already has acquired the necessary property in that area to adjust that curve. It will also include work on sidewalk improvements and drainage inlets along the bypass, so the scope of all the work is actually from Sunset Drive to the Wright Road area on Highway 25, said Brandy Rider, project manager with Caltrans.
The curve correction aspect will have the most impact on the many commuters who leave Hollister in the mornings and come back in the evenings. The bypass repair project has a construction cost alone of $6.9 million.
“By extending it out, we end up having to kind of change the configuration of the roadway,” she said.
All three curve repair projects are being funded by the state’s State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The project near La Gloria Road has construction costs of $2.7 million, while the project near Pinnacles has construction costs totaling an estimate of $4.3 million.
Rider also said the fixes are not a matter of merely adjusting the speeds, which aren’t set by Caltrans and are decided upon based on traffic habits. She mentioned how Caltrans has posted warning signs as drivers come into the curves and how the state does want people to generally slow down in those areas.
“All of these curve-correction projects, they are safety driven,” Rider said. “They have higher-than-average collision rates out there.”
The bypass and La Gloria Road area projects are going out to bid in the coming months. They are scheduled for a fall/winter construction start, but Rider said it is looking more like a spring/summer 2019 construction.
As for the project Pinnacles National Park, it’s needed because the roadway failed following storms in the 2015-16 season, and after Caltrans had done a curve correction in that area.
“And so we’re just fixing that,” she said. “That curve restoration is the one that has people pretty irritated.”
On another upcoming project that has stirred complaints from Hollister residents, the planned roundabout at Highways 25 and 156, Rider noted how Caltrans would like to schedule public meetings to explain the project and answer questions people may have.
Photo courtesy of San Benito County Council of Governments