Paso Robles is seeking community feedback on plans to build a bridge that goes over Highway 46 East and connects Union Road/Paso Robles Boulevard.
The joint project between the city and Caltrans District 5 aims to improve the efficiency and safety of Highway 46 at Union Road for cars, buses, pedestrians and cyclists, according to a project description from Caltrans.
At a Thursday meeting in Paso Robles City Hall, the public is invited to comment on the results of a preliminary assessment that indicates no substantial adverse environmental impacts are anticipated from the infrastructure project.
How much will the Highway 46 overpass cost to plan and build?
The State Transportation Improvement Program 2022 is investing $1.55 million in the project, a sum the city is matching for a total cost of $3.1 million for the planning, specifications and estimates phase of the project, according to the project description.
More funding is required to get the project through to the construction phase, according to Caltrans.
Funding for construction is being pursued through federal, state and local resources, including San Luis Obispo Council of Governments’ Regional Transportation Improvement Plan, the city of Paso Robles’ development impact fees, and local tax measures.
How a bridge over Highway 46 could improve life in Paso Robles
The first phase of the Highway 46 and Union Road improvement project involves building a bridge over Highway 46 to connect the two city streets, according to Caltrans.
“It is a whole lot more convenient to cross (Highway) 46 with a bridge than it would be to say take Union Road, turn right on 46 and then as soon as you cross the Heuro Heuro Creek Bridge, you turn left on Airport Road,” Caltrans District 5 Project Manager Paul Valadão said. “We know that it’s very difficult to cross because of those at-grade crossings. They’re not very efficient.”
The plans for the bridge over Highway 46 also fit well into the city’s land use plan for that part of Paso Robles, Valadão said.
“The intent here is to efficiently cross traffic over Highway 46,” Valadão said. “The reason why the bridge is well placed is because there is a growing number of residential populations south of 46 and a growing industrial population north of 46 (in Paso Robles).”
The overpass will include traffic lanes for the appropriate volume of traffic, sidewalks for pedestrians and striped bike lanes adjacent to and on the shoulders, Valadão said of the bridge.
The initial traffic forecast models show that the Highway 46 overpass should work to ease roadway congestion until the mid-century, roughly late 2040, Valadão said.
After that, Phase 2 of the project will begin. In Phase 2, highway entrance and exit ramps will be added to build out a full interchange, the details of which are described in the environmental impact report, Valadão said.
“I want this to be built so when I take my future grandkids to the water slides, I want to get there safely,” Valadão, a San Luis Obispo resident, said.
How to comment on the Paso Robles Highway 46 project
The meeting will be held at Paso Robles City Hall on the second floor at 1000 Spring St. on Thursday from 6-8 p.m.
Comments on the draft environmental report will be accepted now until Sept. 1.
Comments can be submitted in writing by mail or email to Caltrans, Attention: Matt Fowler, California Department of Transportation, 50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.