Work on Highway 101/41 interchange nears end in atascadero


Drivers can expect fewer detours, delays and bright orange cones as the multimillion-dollar project to rebuild the Highway 101/41 interchange in Atascadero reaches the end of the road. Roadwork is expected to be complete this fall, with landscaping touches expected in 2011.

Officials say the long-awaited revamped interchange will transform what was a maze of converging lanes and abrupt traffic lights into a more user-friendly intersection in the North County.

The work, which has snarled traffic near downtown for the past three years, began in fall 2007.

Although the ongoing construction has been tough on motorists at times, city leaders said, the end result unclogs the traffic that once built up where the highways meet — and it creates a more inviting entrance to the city.

“Citizens and visitors alike will be happy that traffic is once again flowing unimpeded at this intersection,” said Steve Martin, executive director of Atascadero Main Street.

The $17 million project, contracted through Granite Construction of San Luis Obispo, most recently widened Highway 41 to six lanes from four at the interchange. The lanes were paved this summer and marked with temporary striping. The entire area will be permanently striped later this year, according to Caltrans.

Crews also replaced the northbound and southbound bridges on Highway 101 over Highway 41, built a new northbound lane to Highway 101 and added a bike lane that gives 8 feet on either side of Highway 41, Caltrans said.

Motorists can still expect delays for the next two years south of the interchange for another North County project, which spans from Santa Margarita to the Traffic Way exit in Atascadero on Highway 101. That project — designed to resurface the highway with new pavement — began in May.

Reach Tonya Strickland at 781-7858. Stay updated by following @tstrickland on Twitter.