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Those of you who work in the Airport Blvd. business cluster already know about road closures and detours, but what about Jake, a reader who makes an occasional trip to the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport?

“Yesterday, I went to the Charles Schulz Airport via 101 from Santa Rosa. Since I don’t regularly drive to the airport (or surrounding businesses) I didn’t know the overpass construction has temporarily blocked the northbound Airport Blvd exit. I had to drive to the Shiloh Exit and take Old Redwood Highway back to the overpass. Why doesn’t Caltrans put Temporarily Closed signs on the highway signs? Also, I didn’t notice any detour signs.”

Here’s a cheat sheet about what’s going on and how to navigate it, plus an update from Caltrans about the project’s progress. If you veterans have other ideas, let us hear them.

Northbound Fulton Road exit – Take it if you’re driving north and going to the airport. You won’t get another chance until you hit Shiloh Road.

Northbound Airport Blvd. exit – It’s closed while a new exit is being built. Once it’s done, the Fulton Road exit will close permanently.

Northbound Shiloh Road exit – The official detour for Airport Blvd. travelers. If you follow the signs you will head east to Old Redwood Highway, then travel south until you reach Fulton Road, where you would have been had you taken the Fulton Road exit. A better solution – head west at Shiloh Road and get right back on Highway 101 going south.

Southbound Airport Blvd. exit – It’s open while earth movers prepare the shoulder for the new exit ramp.

Southbound Fulton Road exit – It’s closed for good, so you have two choices if you need to get to Fulton Road. 1. Take the Airport Blvd. exit and make a quick left turn, heading east on Airport until it intersects with Fulton.2. Take the River Road exit and double back on Fulton Road.

Caltrans spokesman Allyn Amask said crews thought they had removed all the Highway 101 signs that referred to Airport Blvd., but he’ll check again. Detour signs are there, albeit they are small, orange and often placed far apart. He said the official Shiloh Road detour was designed to help divert some traffic from the Fulton Road exit, especially when visitors swarm in for the Wings Over Wine Country airshow Aug. 17 and 18.

Some good news: Tom O’Kane of the Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works Department tells us that county crews repaved Fulton Road and Airport Boulevard earlier this year (the Airport/Fulton signalization project), so once you’ve cleared the exit hurdles, you’ll find yourself on smooth new roads.

Amask said the Caltrans work schedule is tight, with crews racing to finish sensitive environmental work over Mark West Creek by the Oct. 15 deadline. Highway 101 crosses the creek just south of the Airport Blvd. exchange, when the new southbound 101 onramp is being built. Piles are also being driven to hold the expanded Airport Blvd. bridge. That’s the work you’re seeing in the 101 median.

Crews also are pouring the foundations for the sound walls in Windsor, which should be completed by late September or early October. For more info about where they’re being built, read this ROAD WARRIOR post.

Because Ghilotti Construction came up with a more efficient way to build the Airport Blvd. bridge, construction drawings on the Caltrans website are outdated, but Amask assures us that updated drawings will be posted this week. HERE’S where to access them.

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Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter at @PDRoadWarrior.

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. ian thomson

    how about the stupid carpool lanes. people don’t even use them when they can. and then when you can use them it’s such a pain to try and exit because there is so much traffic and nobody wants you to cut in front of them. how about the people who want to drive form up north to down south and vice versa, you get stuck in the traffic and you don’t even want to use these exits. i think some rethinking needs to be done, like get rid of the carpool. it’s only a money making scheme for the CHP. we paid for the extra lane, way back when, in the first gas tax hike. remember?

    July 30th, 2013 9:52 am

  2. Ouroboros

    Ian,
    I use the carpool lanes twice a day, shame you can’t. Find a ride partner or get an electric car if you want to use them. PS they are also required by the federal funding that was used to widen the freeway. So they are not going away. So without that federal funding there would be no carpool lane to complain about. You argument is kind of sounds like a snake eating its own tail to me.

    July 30th, 2013 1:24 pm

  3. cara

    The HOV lanes are great! Speeds up my commute quite a bit.

    Get a passenger or qualifying vehicle and join us!

    July 30th, 2013 2:05 pm

  4. JD

    So… People should buy new cars so they can use the HOV lane? That seems wasteful for all of those who have wonderfully functioning cars purchased prior to the option of cleaner emissions vehicles. It also seems much more detrimental to the environment for 10% of people to drive faster in the HOV lane in their Clean cars while the other 90% chug along at half speed polluting more. Maybe the Clean cars should have to drive in the regular lanes and the Dirty cars get to drive in the HOV lane. I would suspect that the HOV lane actually increases the overall emissions rather than reduces it for all areas north of Petaluma.

    The HOV lane should be for HOV vehicles only. Otherwise we need to rename it to “HOV/CLEAN/MOTO Lane”. If the goal of the HOV lane is to encourage people to rethink their commute, then it should apply to everyone rather than those of means being able to buy a brand new Clean car to speed up the commute. Heck, maybe they should allow people to buy a permit that “Offsets GHGs” or some ruse thing like that and then they can get in the HOV lane too…

    August 13th, 2013 3:20 pm

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