Danville Express

Newsfront - March 30, 2007

Caltrans opens southbound auxiliary lane

Diablo Road onramp no longer 'short merge'

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The auxiliary lane from Diablo Road south to Sycamore Valley Road on I-680 opened last week, ending the dangerous "short merge" that southbound drivers have had to contend with for almost a year. Auxiliary lanes connect onramps from one interchange with the offramps of the adjacent interchange, enabling drivers to travel from one exit to the next without merging with through-traffic.

The project, which included widening both sides of the freeway to add the 12-foot lanes and new shoulders, also added an auxiliary lane from Crow Canyon to Bollinger Canyon that is now open.

The construction work began in April 2006 and was expected to take one year; final landscaping is due in fall 2007. The third segment of the project, from Sycamore Valley Road to Crow Canyon, is not yet funded.

The auxiliary lanes should improve the overall operation of the freeway, noted a project report, providing a longer merging distance for vehicles entering and exiting the freeway. "The new lanes will eliminate on-ramp delays by providing exclusive travel lanes for vehicles entering the freeway," according the report. "This will result in much smoother weaving on and off the freeway."

The $59.7 million project for all three segments is being funded by Measure C, the half-cent gas tax passed in 1998 for transportation improvement; the Surface Transportation Program; Southern Contra Costa Regional Development fees; Tri-Valley Transportation Development fees; and State Transportation Improvement fees.

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