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SLO County Roundup

Paso Robles

The newly constructed westbound lanes on Highway 46 East between Airport and Geneseo roads will open Friday morning.

Delays are still expected for motorists heading east; they will continue to be restricted to one lane until paving is complete in that direction.

A paving completion date has not yet been released, but the final construction project is slated to wrap up in February.

The $30 million project, which began in spring 2008, will give motorists two lanes in each direction on the highway separated by a 60-foot median.

The work is part of a two-phase project aimed at increasing safety on a corridor some have dubbed “Blood Alley” for the many deadly crashes that have happened there.

The second phase will widen the highway between Geneseo Road and Almond Drive. It’s slated to begin when the first phase wraps up.

Caltrans will keep the same contractor for the second phase. Papich Construction of Pismo Beach submitted the winning bid of $46.6 million in November.

Funding comes from Proposition 1B, a $20 billion transportation bond measure approved by voters in November 2006.

— Tonya Strickland

Motorists can expect road closures and parking restrictions in and around downtown Paso Robles on Saturday evening when the Christmas Light Parade rolls through.

Streets will be closed from 5:30 p.m. to the conclusion of the parade, which begins at 7 p.m. There will also be “no parking” signs posted along the parade route. Any car parked along the route will be towed, according to the Paso Robles Police Department.

Street closures include:

Spring Street between Sixth and 14th streets.

Ninth through 13th streets between Spring and Pine streets.

14th Street between Spring and Park streets.

Park Street between Eighth and 14th streets.

Pine Street between 10th & 12th streets.

The parade will begin at 10th and Spring streets at Downtown City Park and end at 11th and Park streets.

The event — which features floats by numerous community groups, students and locals — marks the arrival of Santa Claus to his Holiday House at 12th and Spring streets.

Santa is available for visits from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and then at various hours Dec. 9 through Dec. 24.

For a daily schedule, call 238-4103 or visit www.pasoroblesdowntown.org.

— Tonya Strickland

Atascadero

The 26th Annual Christmas project in Atascadero is taking sign-ups for food baskets, coats, and toys for needy North County children and families.

Residents of Atascadero, Creston, Santa Margarita and Templeton can register with photo identification from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Dec. 10 at Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, 5411 El Camino Real in Atascadero.

— Julia Hickey

SLO County

The Cal Fire/ San Luis Obispo County Firefighters Benevolent Association is holding its 20th annual toy drive through Dec. 22.

Toys collected for Operation Santa Claus will be given to children who are under the care and protection of county Child Protective Services.

The nonprofit volunteer program has helped more than 4,000 children throughout the county since 1990. Residents and local businesses are encouraged to contribute toys, gifts or monetary donations that will be used to purchase needed items and offset operating expenses.

Donations can be dropped off at any Cal Fire station and at the Morro Bay Fire Department. Gifts should be new and unwrapped for proper identification and distribution.

For more details, call Eric Tebbets at 543-9570 or 748-6002.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

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