SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Look for heavier traffic on Central Coast roads and highways in the coming weeks with the summer tourism season winding down and road improvement projects ramping up.
From Highways 46 and 41 in northern San Luis Obispo Counties, to Highway 1 along the coast toward Big Sur on south to Santa Barbara County, motorists will encounter multiple road and highway improvement projects in the coming weeks.
"This is the busiest time of year for Caltrans doing road work, longer days higher temperatures but with that comes a lot more traffic", says Colin Jones with Caltrans District 5, "a lot of tourism, a lot of people coming out from the Central Valley to the beaches so its a real challenge for us to be able to do all the road work and still maintain traffic without causing a lot of delays."
Jones says Caltrans tries to do most of the major road work overnight to limit traffic disruption but motorists should look for lane and ramp closures during the morning and afternoon commute and be sure to slow for the "Cone Zone" where hundreds of road workers will be on the job.
"We try to work with the local businesses and residents but all these highways need re-striping, they need re-paving, new signs, guardrails", Jones says, "there's just a myriad of improvements we're doing on all these roadways."
Local cities are also starting road improvement projects this month which will add to the overall congestion and disruption for neighboring businesses and residents.
"Antyime you're inconvenienced by something you're going to be frustrated", says San Luis Obispo resident Landon King, "but if you try to look at things with a little bit of perspective these types of improvements, you're paying your taxes for improvements like this, if you're not doing that, then where is your money going?"
With the recent increase in gas taxes in California, Caltrans plans to use that new funding source to step up infrastructure improvement projects including bridges, roads and highways in the coming months.