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US 101 is California’s major north-south coastal route between Los Angles and San Francisco, and is a vital asset to national, state and local economies. Its close proximity to two of the nation’s largest cities makes it an essential route for national and international goods movement, commerce, trade, tourism, education, military transport, spaceport and national defense operations, and other important industrial activities.
US 101 in Caltrans District 5 accommodates interregional, regional and urban traffic. Common personal mobility purposes are related to business, government, recreation, tourism and daily living, including journey-to-work. The highway accommodates freight and goods movement related to agriculture, commerce and manufacturing. National defense-related transport, including the movement of troops, equipment and hazardous materials is also served by US 101.
US 101 between Salinas and King City consists of four lanes of either rural expressway or rural freeway with intermittent frontage roads. The existing Union Pacific railroad line runs alongside the west side of US 101. Along this stretch of US 101, there are numerous at-grade intersections, public and private railroad crossings, some of which are uncontrolled, and a non-standard interchange (Abbott Street). Fresh packaged produce from agricultural operations in the area requires immediate movement to markets after picking and packaging. The agricultural operations contribute to traffic conflicts between high speed through traffic and slow-moving vehicles entering or exiting the adjacent agricultural fields and related services as well as conflicts with crossing the railroad tracks.
A Corridor Study (CS) covering US 101 from the King City northern urban boundary to the Salinas southern urban boundary was completed in July 2001. A Project Study Report (PSR) covering US 101 from the Chualar Main Street overcrossing to the Salinas Airport Boulevard overcrossing was completed in July 2003. A Transportation Concept Report was completed in December 2014.
The purpose of the project is to improve safety, operations, interregional traffic flow and local circulation of goods movement on the US 101 corridor through an expressway to freeway conversion from the Main Street Overcrossing in Chualar to the Airport Boulevard Overcrossing in Salinas.
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