What’s the status of widening Highway 46?
A series of projects in Kern and San Luis Obispo counties have succeeded in widening much of Highway 46 between Interstate 5 and Paso Robles from two to four lanes.
But there’s more to do — especially on the SLO side of the county border.
Some 27.5 miles of accident-prone two-lane highway between Brown Material Road and the San Luis Obispo County line in Kern County have been converted into a much safer four-lane freeway.
A history of head-on collisions, often triggered when fast-moving cars tried to pass slower vehicles and commercial trucks, added to the sense of urgency that powered the $93.8 million in construction spending on the Kern County sections of roadway.
All that’s left to do in Kern County is widen the route six more miles from Brown Material Road to I-5 near Lost Hills.
Things are much more active in San Luis Obispo County, and will be for awhile.
Colin Jones, a spokesman for Caltrans’ central coast district, said there has been such an increase in traffic on Highway 46 over the years from agriculture and tourism that the route required improvement. Work on the San Luis Obispo section of the widening project started east of Paso Robles and continued east toward the Kern County line.
Nine miles of freeway, including a new bridge built over the Estrella River, already have been finished. The 5.1-mile-long third phase of the project — taking the widening out to the town of Shandon — is 65 percent done, Jones said, and will likely be completed by mid-summer.
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