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Highway 116 repairs will delay night traffic two weeks

A two-week repair project begins Monday night on a stretch of Highway 116 where gradual wear and tear has caused a bumpy trek through the rural region west of Santa Rosa.

The $865,000 project covers seven miles from around Mill Station Road in Sebastopol to near Martinelli Road in Forestville. Funding comes from Caltrans’ State Highway Operation and Protection Program, which covers repairs, preservation, emergency repairs, safety improvements and operational improvements.

Drivers should expect delays from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week, according to Caltrans. Travelers in both directions will need to take turns proceeding through one lane wherever work takes place and delays may last five minutes.

Similar repairs last occurred about seven years ago and workers will be fixing scattered damage that developed over a matter of years.

“Although it’s not a complete repavement, the road will be in better condition when we finish,” Caltrans spokesman Jeff Weiss said. “We’re going to take out the bumps, the failed areas and the areas that had problems with drainage, and extend the life of pavement until a future pavement project.”

Highway 116 is a curvy road lined with vineyards, homes and businesses and used by vehicles of all sizes, including big rigs.

“That road wears out the road rather quickly,” Weiss said.

Traffic counts vary by location, but there are about 18,100 vehicles per day on Highway 116 at Graton/Frei Road, which is one of the busier intersections within the project area.

A handful of businesses are at the intersection, including Bill’s Market where Sebastopol resident Douglas Rudd shopped before getting onto the “somewhat tolerable” road he’s used for at least two decades.

“The drive doesn’t ruin my day, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t care if the road was never fixed,” said Rudd, 59. “You can’t help but wonder if the bumps are doing damage to your tires or something.”

Highway 116 is among several Sonoma County roads on tap for repairs.

A three-mile paving project on Highway 12 in Sonoma, from Boyes Boulevard to Leveroni Road, will begin in August. Work began in May on other work in the area, including installation of pedestrian signals.

Also this summer, a paving project will begin on Highway 1 near Bodega Bay.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at colin.atagi@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi

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