An event celebrating the completion on the fourth phase of an auxiliary lane project to improve traffic flow on Highway 101 was held today next to the freeway in Burlingame.
The project adds four and one-half miles of auxiliary lanes between Millbrae Avenue in Millbrae and Third Avenue in San Mateo. The lanes will eventually extend from county line to county line.
Auxiliary lanes reduce freeway congestion by providing a merging area for cars to enter and exit the freeway. The lanes are equipped with metering lights that are activated during commute hours, when traffic is heaviest. Mid-day, when the metering lights are turned off, local drivers can use the freeway for short trips to neighboring communities without having to merge into fast-moving traffic.
In addition to reducing traffic congestion, auxiliary lanes reduce pollution and gas consumption. Before the introduction of auxiliary lanes, there were 1,200 accidents between Millbrae and the southern county line over a three-year period. When the project is complete, it is estimated that the number of accidents will be reduced by 20 percent.
"We are all concerned about the effect of traffic congestion on our air quality," said TA Chair and Redwood City Council Member Rosanne Foust. "Auxiliary lanes will eliminate 109 tons of carbon monoxide from the air every year."
As part of the project, the Peninsula Avenue overcrossing was widened from two lanes to four lanes and the entrances and exits to northbound U.S. Highway 101 were reconfigured. The sidewalks have been widened, which improves pedestrian access to the Coyote Point Recreational Area.
The Monte Diablo pedestrian overcrossing was rebuilt and a new pedestrian overcrossing has been constructed just south of the Broadway interchange.
To date, six and one-half miles of auxiliary lanes have been completed. In 1997, auxiliary lanes were built from Third Avenue to the State Highway 92 Interchange (1.5 miles). In 2001, the section from Hillsdale Boulevard in San Mateo to Ralston Avenue in Belmont (1.5 miles) was completed. In 2004, the lanes were extended from Ralston Avenue to Marsh Road in Menlo Park (3.5 miles).
The $150 million project is funded by a combination of sources, with the San Mateo County Transportation Authority contributing $80 million and Caltrans contributing $70 million.
Measure A is a half-cent sales tax that has funded nine grade separation projects in the county and provided more than $222 million to cities in the county for local streets and roads since 1988.
Media Contact: Tasha Bartholomew, 650-508-7927