SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Traffic was bumper-to-bumper Monday on a portion of Highway 17 between Scotts Valley and Los Gatos as crews worked to repair the storm-damaged road.
"It's kind of crazy,” said Oakland resident Justin Woodward. “This is my first time through Santa Cruz (county). I thought this was regular traffic. Come to find out the shoulder is closed."
On Monday, two lanes were down to one on a portion of the highway. Most drivers saw about a 30-minute delay as Caltrans crews performed emergency paving on the southbound side from Summit Road to Vine Hill Road. Crews will be working on this part of the road until Thursday.
"They are repaving some portions of Highway 17. If you go further south, they are working on some potential slide areas," said Officer Sam Courtney, with the California Highway Patrol.
By Friday, crews should be finished with the first round of repairs. Then they will be moving their attention to the road between Sims Road and Pasatiempo Drive. Again, part of the southbound side will be down to just one lane.
"The thing to do right now is leave early, plan accordingly and know that there could be traffic delays from the construction," Courtney said.
Detours through the Santa Cruz Mountains can be tricky. In the past, Old Soquel San Jose Road was a popular alternate route but after this winter it's no longer an option. Storms caused a portion of the road to be washed away. The county says it is making progress on the repairs. Crews installed a large drain along to road to remove excess water. There is no set completion date, however.
"Soquel San Jose Road is still closed. That's not going to work for you,” said Courtney. “Even some of these peripheral side roads on (Highway) 17 -- what's happening there is folks are taking those and they are actually spending more time in traffic."
A more detailed list of this week’s closures is below:
On Monday through Thursday, near Scotts Valley, the southbound No. 2, or right, lane of Highway 17 from Summit Road to Vinehill Road will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. On Friday, in Santa Cruz, the southbound No. 2, or right, lane of Highway 17 from Sims Road to Pasatiempo Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.