You may have noticed that work on the Highway 101/Airport Blvd. intersection entered a new phase this week. That’s good news (they’re closer to being done) and bad news (things will get squirrely for a while).

Here’s what to expect in a nutshell, a few maps and answers to a few questions about the project.

1. New on- and off-ramps are being built at Airport Blvd. While construction is underway, northbound traffic has been rerouted to the Shiloh Road exit in Windsor. Southbound motorists can use the new Airport Blvd. off-ramp, but they can’t turn left.

2. The new northbound on- and off-ramps should be finished and opened in late spring, early summer.

Caltrans recommends the following detours until the new northbound on- and off-ramps are finished in 2014:

Detour: Motorists traveling to locations east of the Airport Boulevard and U.S. 101 Interchange can use the southbound U.S. 101 River Road off-ramp, turn right on westbound River Road, proceed to Fulton Road and turn right, and continue to Airport Boulevard.

Alternate Detour: Motorists also can exit at Shiloh Road, turn left on Shiloh Road, turn right on Old Redwood Highway, and continue to Airport Boulevard.

3. On- and off-ramps at Fulton Road have been permanently closed. If you used to use them, get used to exiting at Airport Blvd. instead.

4. The Airport Blvd. bridge across Highway 101 is being widened to five lanes to accommodate the extra traffic, as well as adding a bike lane and sidewalks for pedestrians. Crews are building a new bridge next to the existing two-lane bridge, and this week are constructing the “falsework” on which the new bridge will be built. That requires night closures of Highway 101. You may have encountered one this week. The work should be done by Saturday morning.

5. Soundwalls are rising north of Shiloh Road, to protect homeowners from road noise. They’re growing taller by the day.

Question: Can we get an update on the airport blvd and fulton rd off ramp closures? The (southbound) airport off ramp is not only dangerous but lengthy. As of today you cannot make a left turn and have to go to the light and then either a left or right down the first street in order to turn around and then go back over the freeway. If they would open the fulton rd off-ramp this would not be an issue. I don’t even see any work being done on the fulton off-ramp. — Ang

Answer: The new southbound off-ramp is longer than the old one to accommodate all the old traffic that used to exit at Fulton Road, plus all the new traffic expected once the Airport’s new expanded runway is finished in a few years.

To speed up construction of the new bridge, Caltrans isn’t allowing southbound traffic to exit and turn east on Airport Blvd. It’s an inconvenience, but so is prolonged construction. We’ll all thank them when it’s done.

You’re right. They aren’t doing any work on the Fulton off-ramp. That’s because it’s closed.

Question: I am curious what the airport blvd exit in Santa Rosa will look like. It seems like they are trying to create a traffic backup making two lanes going west instead of east like usual. I think they are doing a horrible job. If you have already done this story can you send me the link? Thanks, Joanna

Answer: You’re referring to traffic on the bridge that crosses Highway 101, which currently has one lane going in each direction. Once the project is done, that bridge will have five lanes, two going east, two going west and a turn lane.

We have done lots of stories about the project, but sometimes it’s easier to understand if you can see a map. You can click on the one below to get a closer look at the new intersection. The yellow lines represent the new traffic pattern. For more details about the project, read this Road Warrior clip.

Question: My husband and I are wondering what is happening in the area at the Airport exit. — Trish

Answer: Lots of things. See above.


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