For Highway 101 drivers, relief is almost here.

Caltrans is continuing to do finishing work on the highway between Santa Rosa Avenue and Rohnert Park Expressway, and Caltrans spokesman Adam Priest says the third lane is expected to be open by the end of this month or early September.

But he adds a caveat: “With that, these projects require scheduling of stripers, etc., during a very busy time for construction.” So it could be later.

Once opened, the third lane will be a carpool-lane only during commute hours, allowing carpoolers to enjoy it from downtown Windsor to north Petaluma, where the highway goes back to two lanes.

The wait has been a long time in coming. The first widening segment in downtown Santa Rosa started construction in early 2005, and the Rohnert Park stretch began in 2009.

The next big step will be raising the speed limit to 65 mph from Santa Rosa Avenue south to north Petaluma. No official word on that yet.

Meanwhile, Caltrans plans the following lane closures this week for the 101 work:

–Highway 101, northbound from Rohnert Park to Santa Rosa Avenue, one lane will be closed 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday.

–Highway 101, north and southbound from Railroad Avenue in Cotati to Old Redwood Highway in Petaluma, various lanes and ramps will be closed at 7:30 p.m.to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday.

–Highway 101, northbound from Railroad Avenue to Rohnert Park Expressway, one lane closed at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and two closed at 9 p.m., with all lanes reopening by  5 a.m.

–Highway 101, north and southbound, from Rohnert Park Expressway to Old Redwood Highway, one lane closed 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

–Highway 128, Caltrans on Monday starts a construction project on the Geyserville Bridge that will last through Oct. 30. Work hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday with one-way traffic control.Workers will build a retaining wall on the northern end of the bridge to help prevent erosion.

–Petaluma, one westbound lane of East Washington Street will be closed between McDowell Boulevard and the southbound Highway 101 offramp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for the next two months. Caltrans is remodeling the interchange there.

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