The Cambrian

Hwy. 1 construction backed up North Coast traffic for hours. What Caltrans is doing about it

Caltrans has significantly rearranged its work schedule on a Highway 1 repaving project in the Cambria-to-Harmony area, aiming to avoid another massive traffic tie-up like the one that held miles of cars in an LA-like gridlock for an hour or more June 26.

The revised schedule? All construction will be done during the overnight hours on Sundays through Fridays, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., , according to Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers.

The $3.2 million project to resurface the pavement from just north of Harmony Valley Road to Cambria Pines Road, being done by Granite Construction of Santa Maria, is expected to be completed by August.

Construction went on a holiday hiatus from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 7. From then on, it will be on the overnight schedule only, Sundays through Fridays from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Nighttime traffic is much lighter on the All-American Road, a national scenic byway that’s such a magnet for travelers, especially in summer. Shivers said flaggers and crews have been instructed to arrange their work to make the traffic-control patterns more equitable, as alternating groups of northbound and southbound vehicles are allowed to proceed through the construction zone.

On June 26, according to the flurry of angst-ridden reports on social-media, many more southbound travelers were allowed to proceed at one time than were being released in the northbound lane, contributing to a backup that stretched for miles, from the southernmost stoplight (Main Street/Ardath Drive) to far south of Harmony.

There was a backup at the north end of the construction zone, too, but the delays there apparently weren’t as long. Some people said later that, with all the construction zones and roadwork being done along highways 1 and 46 and the flagger-controlled stops along the way, it had taken them one, two or even close to three hours to get from San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles to their homes in Cambria or San Simeon.

Meanwhile, road construction continues in the Cayucos area and on Highway 46.

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