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Construction on a project to expand the Highway 101 bridge over the Santa Maria River from four to six lanes will move forward later this year, thanks to $31.6 million in state funds.

The California Transportation Commission approved the funds from the state’s Proposition 1B bond measure last month, according to the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, which worked with Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments to secure funding for this project.

The project will also include construction of an adjacent bicycle and pedestrian path linking northern Santa Barbara County with southern San Luis Obispo County.

An additional $12.7 million from SLOCOG and SBCAG will also go toward construction of the project. Other costs, including the environmental and engineering work and securing the right-of-way, totaled $6.7 million.

“If the state funding did not come through at this time, we’d be placing this (as) a long-term project, because we won’t see this level of funding again for five to 10 years from now,” SLOCOG Executive Director Ron DeCarli said.

— Cynthia Lambert

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