Construction is steadily progressing in Nipomo on the second phase of a project that will extend Willow Road from Hetrick Avenue to Highway 101 and under the freeway to Thompson Road.
The project is expected to be complete in December 2012 and will, after years of planning, establish a direct link on the Nipomo Mesa from Highway 1 to Highway 101 and alleviate traffic congestion at Tefft Street.
Currently, northbound traffic on Highway 101 has been diverted into the paved center median so crews can work on one part of the Willow Road undercrossing.
Once that is completed, southbound traffic will be diverted so construction can proceed on the other side of the freeway, said Michael Zen, resident engineer for MNS Engineering, which is providing construction management for the project.
A bridge will also be constructed over Nipomo Creek.
In December, the Board of Supervisors awarded a $20 million contract to Granite Construction to build it (including costs for MNS Engineering), with the money coming from a variety of federal, state and local sources, including fees that developers pay the county.
The first phase of the project — extending Willow Road from Pomeroy Road to Hetrick Avenue — was completed in June.
Dale Ramey, transportation project manager with the county’s Public Works Department, told The Tribune in a previous interview that without the Willow Road interchange, traffic at Tefft Street would almost double in the next 20 years.
He said the improvements should provide “an overall annual reduction of 5,200 vehicle miles traveled by providing a shorter route to the freeway.”