Frustrated drivers looking forward to upcoming completion of Nipomo road construction

Ongoing work on Tefft St. causing heavy traffic

Frustrated drivers looking forward to...

NIPOMO, Calif. - Road construction on Tefft St. in Nipomo is testing the patience of drivers who regularly travel the busy road.

"It takes tons of time to get anywhere you need to in Nipomo right now," said Ashlee Hiller. "It's extra time to get to school in the mornings, get home from school, get to practices."

Hillier said she waited several minutes on Monday to finally pass through the often-clogged intersection at Mary Ave.

"It's backed up," Hillier said. "Yesterday I sat at a light five times before I got to go anywhere."

The construction project has been ongoing in the town for the past several weeks.

San Luis Obispo County public works director Wade Horton said it's part of an overall $2.9 million project that will improve 6.6 miles of road in the surrounding community.

"This is part of the County's overall Pavement Management Program," Horton said. "Tefft Street is the primary arterial for Nipomo and this is the first time since 1991 that it has received a major overlay. As a result, pavement had deteriorated to a bad condition which requires more extensive rehabilitation."

While motorists are having to endure short-term frustration, Horton believes the end result will be worth it for the long-term.

"The project addresses key operational issues," said Horton. "The new construction will provide a smoother riding surface, increase the amount of vehicles that can make left turns at Mary Avenue and provide a lane for bicycles."

As construction has progressed, motorists have had to deal with severe congestion, particularly during peak drive times. 

"You can definitely tell people are frustrated," said Hillier. "They don't want to wait, so they'll block the intersection because they don't want to wait at the light anymore, but you're not going anywhere, no one's going anywhere."

Horton stresses good news is on the way for drivers. Completion of the project is on the horizon.

"The construction is almost complete," Horton said. "The remaining section of asphalt work at the freeway overpass is happening this week with the final paving scheduled for Thursday. The work is taking place at night to avoid the high volume of daytime traffic and ramp closures are limited to those night hours."

Already, motorists have noticed an improved road near the Pomeroy Rd./Tefft St. intersection.

"It's nice," said Hillier. "It's a lot less wear and tear on my tires. I'm excited about it. I just hope (the entire project) gets done fast."

Looking ahead, Horton added plans being made that will address the ongoing issue of poor traffic flow at the very busy Tefft St./Highway 101 intersection.

"There is a project in the planning stages to widen the northbound and southbound off-ramps and provide enhance the existing traffic signals to improve the flow of traffic at the interchange."

The project is scheduled for 2019.

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