Highway 17 tree removal causing heavy traffic delays, but expected to wrap up Friday

Road work to clear up precarious trees and vegetation has been ongoing since March 30, causing significant delays on Highway 17 between Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. The work is expected to be completed by 3 p.m. Friday.

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Caltrans District 4 work crews have been working along Highway 17 to remove fallen and leaning trees damaged by the series of storms that battered California’s Central Coast for most of of the year so far, incrementally closing parts of the major transportation artery from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. since March 30. It has caused significant traffic delays for commuters making the drive between Santa Cruz County and Los Gatos and beyond.

As of Tuesday afternoon and the the Bay Are in dry, mostly sunny stretch, transit-agency workers were addressing damage along the northbound section of highway between The Cats restaurant, just outside Los Gatos, and Summit Road near the Santa Clara-Santa Cruz county line.

Caltrans District 4 spokesperson Victor Gauthier said crews expect to finish up by 3 p.m. Friday, bringing an end to the disruptive daytime lane closures.

He added that the work is largely preventative against the effects of further inclement weather: “The rain really hit us hard and there is a lot of unexpected work that needs to be done.”

Overnight road work will follow the current tree-clearing endeavor.

Beginning Monday and running until July, Caltrans will close one northbound and one southbound lane between Hebard Road, next to the Lexington Reservoir, and the Highway 17-Highway 9 interchange for repaving, striping and guardrail repair. The agency says those closures will run Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.


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