The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has begun nighttime work on a wildlife undercrossing near Laurel Curve on Highway 17, which is expected to reduce traffic to one lane in the north and southbound directions.
The work is slated to begin on Tuesday on Highway 17, from 0.6 miles south of Laurel Road to 0.2 miles north of Laurel Road.
During the first phase of construction, travelers in both the north and southbound directions of Highway 17 can expect overnight work that will result in the reduction of travel down to one lane, with delays up to 10 minutes.
The work will run in the northbound direction from 8pm to 5am, and in the southbound direction from 9pm to 7am. Overnight work will begin Sunday evenings and conclude Friday mornings.
Message and directional signs will be in place to assist travelers in the area, and CHP will assist with traffic control.
Workers will begin by removing the existing concrete barrier between travel lanes and then placing a temporary guardrail.
The work is a partnership between Caltrans, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, which has preserved 460 acres of mostly undeveloped land on both sides of the highway.
According to Caltrans, the roadway is built over natural drainage and is, therefore, an ideal location for a wildlife undercrossing. The project is expected to increase travel safety by keeping animals off the highway.
Graniterock has been selected as the contractor for the $5.4 million project. It is scheduled to conclude at the end of July.