Construction begins on Highway 46 East widening project
Project that will convert a two-lane divided highway into a four-lane expressway from Shandon rest area to Jack Ranch Cafe
– Construction has begun on widening Hwy. 46 East from the Shandon Roadside Rest Area to west of the Jack Ranch Café in Cholame. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for this project that will convert a two-lane divided highway into a four-lane expressway.
“It was a great milestone to share this day with our partners as we widen another five-mile segment of this important east-west corridor. This project moves us closer to our goal of creating a four-lane divided highway from San Luis Obispo County to the San Joaquin Valley,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins.
At the ceremony, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor John Peschong complimented Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham for finding the funds for this project. Peschong said, “It’s a big deal. It will make it easier for us to get in and out of our county. Assemblyman Cunningham has been fighting for us for a long time. It’s not easy for our county to get resources to build something like this. He won’t be our assemblyman for much longer, but I think he’s done a wonderful job for our county.”
The Cal Trans Senior Engineer on the project is Amy Norris. She has been working full-time in design at Cal Trans for over twenty years. “This is a really unique project. We don’t often get to do this size earthwork job anymore,” She said, “Being able to widen something like this, and do 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt work- it’s pretty exciting.”
The widening of this segment of Hwy 46 East follows four completed phases from Paso Robles leading to the Hwy. 46/41 intersection. The $47 million widening of Highway 46 East from McMillan Canyon Road to Lucy Brown Road was completed in 2019. The $38 million widening from Almond Drive to McMillan Canyon Road was completed in 2016. The widening of Hwy. 46 East from Geneseo Road to east of Almond Drive was completed in 2014 while the widening from Airport Road to Geneseo Road was completed in 2010.
“The safety of this corridor has been a longtime priority for the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG)—both our agency staff and board of directors are thrilled to see this project segment underway,” said SLOCOG Executive Director Peter Rodgers.
The contractor for this $116 million project is Atkinson Construction of Irvine, Calif. A project to reconfigure the Highway 46 East/State Route 41 “Wye” Interchange is expected to begin construction in 2024.
At the completion of these corridor projects, Highway 46 East will become a 4-lane divided expressway from US 101 in Paso Robles to I-5 in Lost Hills in Kern County.
Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones. For traffic updates on other state highways in San Luis Obispo County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805) 549-3318 or can visit the Caltrans District 5 website at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/maint/road/upslo.htm.