The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has developed a long-range program of investments in the Highway 1 corridor to relieve congestion on State Route (Highway) 1 in Santa Cruz County.
RTC, in cooperation with Caltrans and the FHWA, prepared a combined Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA) for the Tier I programmatic-level long range vision for the Highway 1 corridor and the Tier II (project level) 41st/Soquel Auxiliary Lanes and Bike/Ped Overcrossing Project. The Final EIR/EA was certified in January 2019, providing a long-term, program level analysis for the future of the Highway 1 corridor between Santa Cruz and Aptos. The Tier I concept for the corridor is anticipated to be built over time through a series of smaller incremental projects (referred to in the EIR/EA as Tier II projects). The Final EIR/EA provided a project-level analysis for auxiliary lanes between 41st Avenue and Soquel Drive and a pedestrian/bicycle overcrossing of Highway 1 at Chanticleer Avenue.
Soquel/Morrissey Auxiliary Lanes Project
The environmental document for the Highway 1 Auxiliary Lanes from 41st Avenue to Soquel Drive/ Avenue Project was approved in September 2009, to address immediate traffic concerns, while the long-term vision for the corridor was being developed. The RTC awarded the contract to construct the project in January 2012. Construction began in February 2012 and was finished in December 2013. The project added northbound and southbound auxiliary lanes to Highway 1, between Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard. This segment of Highway 1, which is about one mile in length, has historically been one of the busiest sections in Santa Cruz County carrying over 100,000 vehicles per day.
41st/Soquel Auxiliary Lanes and Bike/Pedestrian Overcrossing Project
In 2018 the RTC advanced and implemented the final design for the Highway 1 Auxiliary Lanes from 41st Avenue to Soquel Drive/Avenue Auxiliary Lanes and Bike/Pedestrian Overcrossing Project to achieve project readiness for funding opportunities. This project, which was referred to as the “Tier II Project” in the Tier I/Tier II Final EIR/EA, described above, extends approximately 1.4 miles along Highway 1 between 41st Avenue in Capitola and Soquel Drive in Live Oak. The project proposes to add northbound and southbound auxiliary lanes between the two interchanges, add infrastructure for buses to travel in the auxiliary lanes between interchanges and on the outside shoulder through interchanges, and to construct a new bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing at Chanticleer Avenue. The final design phase is currently underway and is expected to be completed in 2021. The project is expected to go to construction in 2021.
State Park to Bay/Porter Auxiliary Lanes and Bike/Pedestrian Overcrossing Project
In 2019 RTC entered into Cooperative Agreement with Caltrans and awarded the consultant contract for the Project Approval & Environmental Document (PA&ED) phase of the Highway 1 Bay/Porter to State Park Auxiliary Lanes and Bus-on-Shoulder project, which also includes a bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing of Highway 1 at Mar Vista Drive. Public scoping for the project was conducted in October and November 2019. The draft environmental document is scheduled to be available for public review in Fall 2020. Final design is expected to be completed by 2022, and the project is expected to go to construction in 2022.
The map below shows the locations of proposed improvements under the Highway 1 Corridor Investment Program.