Federal grant money to help improve Hwy. 1 in SLO County

A lengthy stretch of Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo to San Simeon has received a pair of grants totaling $83,800 under the National Scenic Byways program.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, who pushed for the funds, said the money will not only improve county residents’ quality of life but also create jobs.

The first grant of $47,000 will go to develop a plan for a 12-mile, multiuse trail between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, ultimately connecting Cal Poly to Cuesta College and then to the California Coastal Trail.

The money also will go toward identifying “funding opportunities to construct segments of the trail,” according to a news release from Capps.

The trail will “provide pedestrians, bicyclists and those with disabilities a scenic trail that will connect these two important communities along the (scenic) byway,” Capps wrote.

The second grant of $36,800 will go toward upgrading Americans with Disabilities Act access west of Highway 1 in San Simeon, as well as fixing up trailheads, building a retaining wall and other improvements.

The Department of Transportation designates roads as National Scenic Byways based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. There are more than 150 such designated byways in 46 states.