Caltrans’ plan to widen Highway 101 between Petaluma and Novato inched forward this week with the state Transportation Commission approving a few more miles of extra lanes.

The biggest gain will be in Novato where a fourth northbound lane will be added from Highway 37 to north of Atherton Avenue — a distance of about four miles. A fourth southbound lane will be built from Rowland Boulevard to Highway 37 — a distance of a little more than a mile.

The Transportation Commission approved $38.8 million toward the work, which the Marin Independent Journal reported could start this May and take 18 months to complete. Caltrans bills this as the first phase of the Novato Narrows widening project.

Preliminary work is to start Monday when construction crews will start to cut down 105 trees between Highway 37 and Atherton Avenue. Caltrans says 28 trees will be planted in nearby riparian areas at some point during the widening project.

The commission also approved $22.8 million to widen Highway 101 from Pepper Road south one mile to Old Redwood Highway in Petaluma. That work also is expected to begin this year.

Caltrans already is widening 101 from Rohnert Park to Pepper Road.

The commission, as part of a $1 billion allocation spread among 107 projects statewide, also approved:

–$494,000 to create a roundabout at Highway 1 and Simpson Lane, just south of Fort Bragg.

–$2.6 million for storm repairs on Highway 101 near Rattlesnake Creek Bridge, about 12 miles north of Laytonville. That work includes building a retaining wall, redoing road shoulders and improving drainage.

–$10,000 for various improvements in Clearlake, including bike paths along Lakeview Way, sidewalks on Olympic Drive and bike lanes and sidewalks from Burns Valley Elementary School to Lakeshore Drive.

–$50,000 for bikeway from Nice-Lucerne cutoff at Westlake Drive to Highway 20 at Upper Lake.

To see the other projects approved around the state, CLICK HERE.

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