Highway 101 express lanes in San Mateo County set to open in 2021

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An express lane on Highway 101 in each direction between Whipple Avenue in Redwood City and Interstate 380 in San Bruno are expected to open in summer 2021 after the California Transportation Commission (CTC) recommended this week that the project receive $253.2 million in state funding.

The express lanes would connect to the HOV lanes that already exist south of Whipple and extend into Santa Clara County. Officials hope to concurrently convert Santa Clara County’s HOV lanes to express lanes, creating a new system of continuing express lanes on the Peninsula “that will incentivize the use of public transit, carpools, and other shared ride options, while also creating a new revenue stream for additional transportation enhancements from individuals willing to pay a fee to drive in the new lanes,” according to transportation officials.

The $253.2 million in recommended state funding, which was made available thanks to gas tax legislation Senate Bill 1, will combine with $50 million committed through a working group of major employers and local government bodies on the Peninsula that banded together to reduce Highway 101 congestion.

Officials now hope for the passage of Regional Measure 3, a bridge toll increase measure that would fund a set of traffic relief and public transit projects Bay Area-wide, to complete the express lane network into Santa Clara County.

“Congestion on Highway 101 is regularly cited as the greatest challenge to residents of San Mateo County,” said San Mateo County Transportation Authority Board Chair Don Horsley. “Incentivizing mass transit with express lanes is a greener alternative that takes cars off the road and helps people get home to their families faster.”

Rosanne Foust, president and CEO of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA), said solutions for Highway 101 have been a significant goal for local employers.

“Employees from some of the most productive and innovative companies in the world depend on Highway 101 for their daily commute, which is why the private sector has stepped up to help advance this important project through advocacy and their own financial commitment,” Foust said.

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