Caltrans finishes the grade, again

All Caltrans wanted for Christmas was to finish the Cuesta Grade highway project. After intense rains last winter, a landslide forced Caltrans to close one northbound lane of the recently completed section of Highway 101. Then, some — including New Times — began to question the integrity of the $4 million Cuesta Grade project.

To fix damage caused by the slide, contractors started the $4.2 million improvement project in July and finished last week, fully reopening the grade on Christmas Eve. The improvement project repaired the damaged lane and ensures, hopefully, that the slope on the eastern side of the northbound lane won't slide out again.

Colin Jones, spokesman for Caltrans, said it's impossible to say that a landslide won't happen again, though.

“Never say never,� he said. “There could be more repairs, but you could say that of any highway.�

In the spring, once the weather warms, Caltrans will completely finish the project when it repaves some areas of the northbound side.

According to Jones, 50,000 vehicles travel over the grade daily. The original $45 million project took 3 1/2 years to complete.

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