The Mendocino County leg of a Caltrans repaving project is under way.

Work began Monday on a nearly 10.5-mile stretch of Highway 175  from Highway 101 in Hopland to just past the Lake County line, and it’ll cause traffic delays of up to 15 minutes for drivers.

The work will be 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and is expected to last into the summer, Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie Jr. said.

The $17.6 million project began last summer in Lake County after residents heatedly protested chip sealing of Highways 29 and 175 that left stretches of both roads rough in summer 2010. More than 1,000 residents signed petitions demanding Caltrans fix the roads, and local politicians added their pressure to agency officials. The chip sealing problem occurred when Caltrans, in a departure from its usual practice, used half-inch rock rather than the typical three-eighths-inch rock for the chip seal. That left the highways, in some ways, harder to drive on than before.

The protests prompted Caltrans to order that the roads be repaved on an accelerated schedule. And last summer Highway 29 was done from near Mount St. Helena to Hidden Valley and Highway 175 was done from Middletown to Kelseyville and for several miles west of Highway 29.

Frisbie said once the Mendocino County work is finished this summer, it’ll leave a yet-to-be-repaved, six-mile stretch of 175 from about the county line east into Lake County. He said repaving for that stretch is a separate project scheduled to be done in two to three years.

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