Paso Robles is getting closer to realigning an intersection notorious for its confusing turn lanes and traffic jams near the Target shopping center at the south end of the city.
The $3 million project would realign Theatre Drive to the west. The new route will go along Gahan Place near the Orchard Supply Hardware store then north to Highway 46 West — bypassing the current Theatre Drive and Highway 46 West intersection.
Work is expected to begin in October and wrap up by fall 2011.
The project is funded with $2.8 million in federal stimulus money and $200,000 through state highway grants.
In March 2009, the city of Paso Robles and the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments acquired the federal money. In January, the Federal Highway Administration committed its part.
The construction bid — which was posted in June — came in lower than expected, according to city staff.
The work contract was awarded to San Luis Obispo’s R. Burke Corp. for $1.8 million.
Costs to other types of contractors are also included in the $3 million, according to the city.
The city will ask Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration to incorporate sidewalks and concrete curbs into the project using a portion of the leftover money.
A 2005 study approved by Caltrans said that traffic congestion could be fixed in that area by a number of changes.
The first is the Theatre Drive realignment.
Future not-yet-funded phases include realigning Vine Street to Highway 46 West with the new Theatre Drive location, as well as building two roundabouts on the west and east sides of the intersection.
Grant money has so far only been received for the first phase.