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New Hwy. 46 East overpasses are now open to traffic

The new Estrella River Bridges on Highway 46 East near Paso Robles were unveiled Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
The new Estrella River Bridges on Highway 46 East near Paso Robles were unveiled Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Courtesy photo

A pair of overpasses in the massive expansion of Highway 46 East near Paso Robles opened to the public this week, Caltrans announced Thursday.

However, motorists should expect delays starting Thursday night as crews resurface and stripe the bridge’s lanes, resulting in the temporary closure of one lane in each direction.

All lanes on the bridges are expected to be open to full two-way traffic next month, officials said.

The Estrella River Bridges are part of a $265 million effort by the state to extend 15 miles of the highway from two to four lanes in segments between Paso Robles and Shandon, according to a news release. The state is several years into the widening project on San Luis Obispo County’s corridor into the Central Valley with construction slated to be complete by October 2018.

“The widening of this important transportation corridor linking the Central Valley and the Central Coast will reduce congestion and improve safety for thousands of commuters, tourists and the agricultural industry who rely on this highway,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement.

The new 1,000-foot-long and 100-foot-high Estrella River Bridges replace an original bridge built around 1955.

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