SLO County Roundup


As construction on the long-awaited Willow Road project enters its final two years, Hetrick Road at Willow Road will undergo a five-week closure beginning in January, according to the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Works.

The closure begins Jan. 3, and the road will reopen in mid-February. Local traffic will be allowed through.

The improvements are part of an ongoing change to traffic circulation to and through the Nipomo Mesa, an upgrade that includes new roads and an interchange.

In early December, the Board of Supervisors awarded a $20 million contract to Granite Construction to complete the changes.

Residents could be driving on the new roads and interchange by December 2012, according to Dan Woodson, chairman of the Nipomo Traffic and Circulation Committee.

One of the chief results of the improvements will be a reduction in congestion at Tefft Street.

“The long-term reduction of traffic at Tefft Street interchange (will be) over 8,000 vehicles per day,” Dale Ramey of Public Works said. “Without Willow Road, traffic at Tefft Street would almost double in the next 20 years.”

Overall, Ramey said, the improvements should provide “an overall annual reduction of 5,200 vehicle miles travelled by providing a shorter route to the freeway.”

— Bob Cuddy

San Luis Obispo

A local City Councilman is seeking an appointment to the regional water quality board, as that body continues to address agricultural runoff and other issues important to the Central Coast economy and environment.

San Luis Obispo City Councilman John Ashbaugh said he would like to sit on the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Ashbaugh said the board has “a tremendous impact on our lives,” keeping an eye on quality of ground and surface water, and protecting the coast, among other things.

According to its website, the board, created in 1967, protects and enforces “the many uses of water, including the needs of industry, agriculture, municipal districts and the environment.” It monitors agricultural runoff and administers the Federal Clean Water Act.

— Bob Cuddy

Morro Bay

People of all abilities are invited to attempt — or watch — 108 sun salutations at the 6th Annual Yogathon on New Year’s Day to raise funds for Pacific Wildlife Care rehabilitation center.

The event will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Morro Bay Veteran’s Hall at 209 Surf St. A sun salutation is a series of yoga moves done repeatedly.

Participants are asked to bring a donation for Pacific Wildlife Care. Basic instruction and yoga mats will be provided. For details, visit www.yogawave.us or call 234-7279.

— Julia Hickey