The most pressing challenge facing our county is commuting or traveling out of our county. Most residents feel trapped, not able to travel in a timely manner. Not only is Highway 25 congested, but Highway 156south to Highway 101and east 156 from San Juan Bautista to Hollister are both congested and slow. We need to pressure both Cal-Trans and the Valley Transportation Authority to expedite work on Highway 25.
Expanding Highway 156 to four lanes from San Juan to Hollister has been planned for over 12 years yet construction has still not started. The County Board of Supervisors and Council of Governments must work with Cal-trans to fast-track this expansion.
Expanding Highway 25 also needs to be fast-tracked, possibly with short-term loans to cover the construction costs. The dedicated revenue stream can then be used to repay loans quickly. Because Highway 25 is a state highway, Cal-Trans needs to pick-up the pace of both planning and construction. Economic development and people’s time are being are being wasted waiting in traffic on Highway 25.
Further, the planned round-a-about at Highways 25 and 156 needs to be reconsidered. Why pay for something that will used a few years only to be reconfigured into a safer freeway overpass. I say we spend money once on the overpass now, even if the four-lane expansion is a few years off. Doing so saves taxpayers a lot of money.
County roads and both San Juan and Hollister roads are in bad need of repair. Maintaining these roads has been put off time and time again. Now is the time for all three jurisdictions to jointly share paving mobilization costs and repair more miles of road.
The county in particular needs to work with both cities to repair roads that transverse city limits and pass between jurisdictions. This, in turn, will ensure Measure G money goes much further, with visible results the will help restore public trust in local government.
Every road needs to be resealed or repaved on a regular basis. For this reason, the county needs to establish and implement a road maintenance plan. Maintenance frequency will vary depending on traffic, road usage, and several other factors. Regular and scheduled road assessments will ensure the success of the road maintenance plan.
Working together, we can make San Benito County better by improving and maintaining its roads!