Hwy. 101 onramp from Hwy. 166 to close amid bridge-widening work

The southbound Highway 101 onramp from Highway 166 will be closed for up to two weeks starting Feb. 25 as crews continue working on a project to widen a section of the highway across the Santa Maria River Bridge.

Motorists heading west on Highway 166 will take a detour onto northbound Highway 101 to Tefft Street before returning south on the highway, according to a news release from Caltrans.

The agency recommends that tractor-trailers use the new Willow Road interchange instead of Tefft Street to reduce congestion.

Drivers heading south from Hutton Road will be redirected north to Tefft Street via the frontage road. Caltrans will place an electronic message board at the intersection of Orchard Road and Southland Street to direct traffic north during the closure.

Caltrans also warned cyclists that there is limited shoulder space on the bridge during construction. Cyclists traveling south can detour along Thompson Avenue to Highway 166 East to Bull Canyon Road to Donovan Road. Those traveling north can detour along Donovan Road to Bull Canyon Road to Highway 166 West to Thompson Avenue.

The project will widen the bridge to six lanes from four with shoulders and includes a bike lane, which will be constructed near the southbound lanes behind a concrete barrier. It is expected to be completed in early 2014.

The $31 million project is intended to improve traffic flow on this section of Highway 101, minimize collisions and provide additional shoulders. The contractor is Flatiron West Inc. of San Marcos.