Project Background

Each of three main elements of the proposed project — auxiliary lanes, bus-on-shoulder features, and Coastal Rail Trail segment – are being developed based on previous studies and larger efforts to improve mobility within the region, as described below:

  • Auxiliary lanes – This is the fourth auxiliary lane project included in the Highway 1 Corridor Investment Program. An auxiliary lane connects a highway on-ramp with the next off-ramp, thereby extending the weaving and merging distance between the ramps, improving traffic operations, and reducing cut-through traffic diverting to local streets and neighborhoods.

You can learn about the Highway 1 Corridor Program, and other auxiliary lane projects, by clicking here

  • Bus-on-shoulder features – To help keep public transit competitive with single-occupant vehicles under congested traffic conditions, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and other agency partners have proposed bus-on-shoulder operations during peak congestion periods. However, this will require improvements to the Highway 1 shoulders, which lack the width and pavement structural section to support these operations.

For more information, click here

  • Coastal Rail TrailThe Coastal Rail Trail is a bicycle and pedestrian trail within the 32-mile Santa Cruz Branch Rail right-of-way, adjacent to the existing train tracks. This trail will serve as the “spine” for the larger Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network, a 50-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway along the coast of Santa Cruz County, from the San Mateo County line in the north to the Monterey County line at Pajaro.

For more information, click here

Purpose and Need

The purpose of the project is to:

  • Reduce congestion along Highway 1 through the project limits
  • Enhance bicycle and pedestrian connectivity by providing a segment of the Coastal Rail Trail
  • Promote the use of alternative transportation modes to increase transportation system capacity and reliability
  • Reconstruct railroad bridges over Highway 1 to accommodate the widened highway and Coastal Rail Trail crossings of Highway 1

This project is needed because:

  • Several bottlenecks along Highway 1 in the southbound and northbound directions cause congestion during peak hours, significantly delaying drivers.
  • “Cut-through” traffic, or traffic on local streets, is increasing because drivers are seeking to avoid congestion on the highway.
  • There are limited opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists to safely get across Highway 1 and navigate the project corridor, even though portions of the project area are designated as regional bicycle routes.
  • There are insufficient incentives to increase transit service in the Highway 1 corridor because congestion threatens reliability and cost‐effective transit service delivery.