Santa Rosa Avenue work aims to solve traffic logjam

  • Looking north on Santa Rosa Ave. Thursday Dec. 26, 2013 at Yolanda Ave. in Santa Rosa, traffic backs up to Hearn Ave. and then to Kawana Springs, Thursday Dec. 26, 2013. The road will be widened to accommodate the busy intersection next to the Santa Rosa Marketplace (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Construction will soon get underway to unclog one of the city's most notoriously congested arteries — Santa Rosa Avenue near Costco.

Traffic near the Santa Rosa Marketplace, one of the city's busiest retail centers, backs up onto surrounding roads and onramps as shoppers flock to big box stores like Costco, Best Buy, and Target.

Add rush hour and holiday shopping into the mix and the already overwhelmed roadway quickly turns into total gridlock.

But beginning in January, Santa Rosa Avenue will be widened from Yolanda Avenue, near the site once eyed for a Lowe's Home Improvement Center, two blocks north to Kawana Springs Road, which forms the southern border of the Santa Rosa Marketplace.

From there north, the road won't be widened, but it will be restriped to improve traffic flow in and out of the shopping center and around the intersection at Baker Avenue, which serves as the northbound Highway 101 onramp.

"It's going to be such an improvement for the community," said Colleen Ferguson, deputy director of public works. "It's a great project."

The work is the second portion of a three-phase effort to one day widen Hearn Avenue over Highway 101. The two-lane overpass is woefully undersized, often causing traffic to back up onto the avenue as well as southbound Highway 101.

The first phase of work involved widening Hearn Avenue between Dutton Avenue and Corby Avenue, which was completed several years ago.

The current work involves adding travel, turn and bicycle lanes to improve the capacity of a 1,200-foot stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue near the Hearn Avenue intersection.

Elements include a second left-turn lane from Kawana Springs Road to Santa Rosa Avenue; a right-turn lane from northbound Santa Rosa Avenue to Kawana Springs; a second left-turn lane from northbound Santa Rosa Avenue to Hearn Avenue; and a second left-turn lane from southbound Santa Rosa Avenue to Yolanda Avenue, and extension of the southbound right-turn lane on to Highway 101.

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