Highway 101 ramps in Arroyo Grande will reopen — just a bit later than expected

If you’ve been driving in Arroyo Grande, you may have noticed that despite reports they were due to reopen in mid-December, the Brisco Road ramps remain blocked off.

They are still expected to reopen — just a little later than previously anticipated.

Arroyo Grande interim City Manager Bob McFall said reopening has been delayed until after the start of the new year because of a requirement from Caltrans for different striping on the ramps before they can reopen.

“Unfortunately there is ‘process’ involved more than just taking down the barricades,” McFall said.

The Highway 101 ramps were closed for almost a year to test how traffic in Arroyo Grande would be impacted if they were permanently closed, as the city continues its 15-year search for a cure for the historically problematic interchange.

The Arroyo Grande City Council voted in November to reopen the northbound ramps, after Caltrans said keeping the ramps closed indefinitely was unfeasible because actual construction on a fix is still years away.

The city has been pursuing changes for the interchange for about 15 years. In March 2015, the council officially selected two alternatives to be reviewed.

The first would close the northbound ramps permanently, with no replacement. That option would include about $14 million in improvements to the overpass and ramps at Grand Avenue, add an extra lane to the northbound off-ramp and left-turn lane and align the southbound ramps. It also would widen the ramps at Camino Mercado.

The second alternative, called 4-C, would relocate the Brisco northbound ramps to Rodeo Drive and cycle traffic through the city’s first roundabout at West Branch Street and Rodeo Drive, among other highway adjustments. This alternative could cost about $23 million.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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