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By KERRY BENEFIELD

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The City of Santa Rosa is set to embark on a major expansion project at Mendocino Avenue and Bicentennial Way, an effort expected to snarl traffic through the summer.

Crews will begin work this week. The $700,000 construction project is expected to last three months.

The project will add a right-turn lane on southbound Mendocino onto Bicentennial, as well as adding a right-turn lane on eastbound Bicentennial onto Mendocino. The existing signals and sidewalks will be replaced.

The intersection will remain open throughout the work, but some lanes will be closed between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, according to Steve Dittmer, supervising engineer. Repaving will be done at the conclusion of the construction and will occur at night.

“They will have to take a lane, then traffic may back up,” he said.

“We want to get the commute traffic through, but we do have to get the work done,” Dittmer added.

The busy intersection serves traffic to and from both the massive Kaiser Permanente campus and the Sonoma County administrative complex.

Nearly 21,000 vehicle trips are made on the stretch of Mendocino between Bicentennial and Fountain Grove Parkway every day, according to city records.

Kaiser officials began on Friday notifying the approximately 1,500 employees who work at that location of the changes and potential summertime delays.

“We are trying to give people a heads-up who work here,” spokesman David Ebright said.

For months, Kaiser has run a shuttle from its Stein facility on Old Redwood Highway north of Fountain Grove Parkway for employees. About 150 employees use the service daily, Ebright said.

The city will maintain a sign to alert drivers of roadway changes, Dittmer said.

The project was planned to allow the heaviest commute times to run without lane closures, he said.

“Construction will take place most of the work day,” Dittmer said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kerry Benefield at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.

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