Motorists driving on Highway 101 between Windsor and Geyserville, a bone-jarring stretch of road long ranked as one of the worst in the Bay Area, are set to receive some much needed relief.
After more than a year of lobbying by Sonoma County transportation officials, Caltrans is in line to receive $67 million to repave 14 miles of Highway 101 north of Windsor. The California Transportation Commission is expected to award the funding at its meeting Wednesday.
“As anyone who drives this corridor knows, your teeth start to rattle as soon as you head north of Windsor,” said Supervisor Mike McGuire, a Sonoma County Transportation Authority board member. “Repairing this stretch of highway will make it safer for commuters and, after 30 years of a bumpy ride, fix one of the worst stretches of highway in the North Bay.”
The project, set for construction in 2016 after design work and environmental review, will replace the four lanes of potholed concrete with a smooth layer of asphalt. Caltrans spokesman Allyn Amsk said the roadway was built more than three decades ago using concrete, which generally lasts longer. But the road has apparently reached the end of its life.
“How many of us travel north of Windsor when all of a sudden you hit that same bloody pothole and your head hits the ceiling,” said Cloverdale Mayor Carol Russell, an SCTA board member. “We need good infrastructure for a good economy. It’s essential.”
The funding comes from the State Highway Operations and Protection Program, which uses federal and state gas tax revenue to maintain the state highway system, and does not require local sales tax money. It cannot be used to fund the ongoing widening of Highway 101 through the Sonoma-Marin Narrows, a much more heavily traveled stretch that currently faces a $250 million shortfall.
Likewise, the money will not be available to repave ailing county roads, which have deteriorated under a continual funding struggle in the past decade or more.