Third lane could be coming to US Highway 101 near Pismo Beach

Third lane could be coming to Hwy 101 near Pismo Beach

PISMO BEACH, Calif. - The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments and Caltrans need the community's help in improving a stretch of US Highway 101, notorious for slow-downs and bottlenecking. 

Officials rolled out the US 101 Pismo Congestion Relief Project Wednesday night and are soliciting public comment on the proposal.  

Pismo Beach is synonymous with breathtaking views, beautiful beaches and if it’s summertime or rush hour - traffic. 

“In the summertime, you really can’t leave your house around here after 2 in the afternoon because there’s pretty much gridlock on the 101,” said Rosemary Wrenn, a Pismo Beach resident. 

Wrenn says traffic is so bad, she has to look out her window that overlooks the freeway before she leaves the house. 

Anyone who has traveled Highway 101 during peak travel time, can tell you there’s a traffic problem in Pismo Beach. 

“I have a lot of friends that come from South County in the morning, and there are so many accidents because there are just too many cars on the road,” said Kathy Andrews, a Shell Beach resident. 

Officials are hoping the massive traffic jam from Avila Beach to Pismo Beach, can be solved with a part-time, managed lane, stretching for four miles from Spyglass Drive to the Pismo Railroad Overhead. 

"What we’re proposing is to use the area near the center median, which is currently grass, and convert that into a part-time lane, typically would be used Monday through Friday between 3:00 p.m. and maybe 6:00 p.m.,” said Jim Shivers, Caltrans District 5.

Caltrans is also tossing around the idea of reconfiguring the on-and-off ramps at Mattie Road and extending the Truck Climbing Lane near Spyglass Drive. 

A welcome suggestion for folks who call this congested stretch of highway, home. 

“I’m most interested in the disappearing lane at Spyglass Drive because all of a sudden that ends and it gets very very congested because people use it for a traveling lane but if it exits onto Spyglass Drive, I think it will be a lot more effective,” said Andrews. 

The proposal is still in the “get the ball rolling” phase.  Officials say they still need to design the project along with an environmental studies process and public review. 

If finalized, we won’t see construction completed until 2026 with an up to almost $25 million-dollar price tag. 

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