Caltrans, the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and MTC are celebrating the completion of the southbound high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on Highway 101 in San Rafael.
The final segment –- running along 101 from North San Pedro in San Rafael to Lucky Drive in Corte Madera — of the southbound gap closure opened to traffic on Sunday, February 1, 2009, The new segment completes the southbound side of a pair of HOV lanes designed to close a 4.5-mile gap in the HOV-lane system along 101 in Marin County.
With the completion of this final piece of the southbound gap-closure in the San Rafael area, commuters now have a continuous, 15-mile-long southbound HOV lane going nearly the length of Marin County. In addition, the elimination of the far-right-hand “lane-drop” near Lincoln Avenue will alleviate a chronic congestion point, benefiting all commuters.
“This stretch of Highway 101 is one of the top five congested freeways in the Bay Area,” said Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi, who also serves as an MTC commissioner. “The continuous southbound carpool lane from Highway 37 in Novato to Highway 1 in Mill Valley will provide significant congestion relief to commuters.”
The southbound HOV lane was scheduled to open in mid- to late-February. However, Caltrans and the contractor took advantage of the unusually dry January weather, and redesigned and re-sequenced the existing plans in order to open the lane earlier than planned.
The remaining segment of the northbound HOV lane remains on schedule to open in spring of 2009. A bicycle and pedestrian path on the western side of Highway 101, between North San Pedro Road and Mission Avenue, will open sometime this summer.
The $141 million gap-closure project is funded by federal, state and local sources, including a half-cent sales tax approved by Marin County voters in 2004 and $105 million allocated by MTC.