Local

New westbound lanes of Hwy. 46 east of Paso Robles to open Friday

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

Delays are still expected for motorists heading east, as 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. It will give motorists two lanes in each direction on the highway separated by a 60-foot-wide median. The $30 million project began in spring 2008.

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 it has seen.

The second phase of widening will occur from Geneseo Road to Almond Drive. It's slated to begin when the first phrase wraps up.

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

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

-Tonya Strickland

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