SALINAS, Calif. - After multiple fatal accidents over the years, a project aimed at making Highway 101 safer is finally on the verge of being completed.
Not only was traffic an issue near the Espinosa and Russell road area of highway 101, but the three-year Prunedale Improvement Project reportedly forced one business out by cutting off customers.
"The road is going to be new to a lot of folks, especially regular commuters, until they get to know the road," said Sgt. Robert Lehman with the California Highway Patrol.
Right now, some of the northbound lanes are being used for southbound traffic so the hope is that by widening the road it will be safer.
This leg of the Prunedale Improvement Project is set to be unvailed next Wednesday, Sept. 3, with the Sala Road exchange and the overpass at Espinosa Road.
Over the years, multiple fatal accidents ocurred at that exact area due to cross-traffic trying to merge onto the highway.
Construction began in 2011 to improve safety, but on the downside, it forced a local produce market owner out because there has been no access from the 101.
"We try to do something good for the community," said Blanca Peña, who along with her husband took over Espinosa Produce last October after the last owner couldn't keep the business running, but the same problems persisted.
Peña said she's having to throw out a lot of fruits and vegetables, but the hope is that with the completion of the overpass and interchange, it will bring more traffic to them.
Transportation Agency for Monterey County, Caltrans, Granite Construction Co. and MCM Construction contributed to the project.
"Removal of the temporary k-rail barrier along northbound Highway 101 and installation of the permanent striping will be completed by Tuesday, Sept. 9," according to a news release from TAMC.
The rest of the Prunedale Improvement Project is expected to be completed by October.