VENTURA, CA—Congratulations to MNS Engineers, Inc. (MNS) for winning the 2016 Project of the Year Award in the Transportation Category with the APWA Ventura County Chapter for the US 101 HOV Widening Project!
This $66M project includes six miles of new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for both north and southbound traffic, a new pedestrian undercrossing with direct beach access at La Conchita, four miles of a Class I bicycle path adjacent to the ocean from Rincon to Mussel Shoals, widening of the Bates Road Bridge, new sound walls at Mussel Shoals, highway landscaping at Bates Road and Mussel Shoals, restoration of the Punta Gorda pedestrian undercrossing, and construction of public access parking lot at Punta Gorda.
This was the second phase of the ongoing 16-mile corridor HOV lane expansion, and helps alleviate traffic on one of California Central Coast’s most congested corridors.
The project was administered by Caltrans, managed by MNS, and constructed by Granite Construction. Project stakeholders included Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), and the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). With MNS’ proactive construction management approach, many stages of the project were completed out of phase and ahead of schedule. Ultimately, the project was ready for the public almost a year ahead of schedule. The project was originally designed to be constructed in four separate stages, but work on all four phases was completed simultaneously, with the approval of Caltrans. Southbound lanes opened in August of 2014, the bike path and La Conchita pedestrian undercrossing opened September of 2014, and the northbound lanes opened March of 2015.
The US 101 HOV lanes are designated carpool lanes on weekdays, from 6 to 9 a.m., and from 3 to 6 p.m. Any other time, the HOV lanes are open to any vehicle. This project not only relieves congestion for commuters on the US 101, but provides a safe, scenic, and alternative way to commute alongside the beach with the bike path and pedestrian underpass. The bike path also won the California Bicycle Coalition’s Best New Bike Path of 2014. “Now, with the physical protection, it’s a gorgeous and safe ride right along the ocean,” said Rachel Morris, head of VC Cool, sponsor of the local bike advocacy organization. “It’s a gem, a destination. People of all ages and skills are flocking to it.”
The new La Conchita pedestrian undercrossing allows the community of La Conchita and visitors to safely access the beach, as opposed to (illegally) running across the US 101 or crouching through a 4-foot tall drainage tunnel under the freeway. Now all beach-goers can enjoy access, thanks to the ramps on both ends of the undercrossing.
This project was part of an on-call construction management contract with Caltrans District 7, which MNS has held since 2009, providing staff for several major roadway and highway projects.
MNS Engineers, Inc., is a multi-service infrastructure consulting firm, specializing in construction management, civil engineering, and land surveying services. The company has served the transportation, water resources, government services, and federal markets since 1962, and prides itself on making a positive difference to California communities every day.