Long-awaited updates to the intersection of Highway 156 and Castroville Boulevard are possibly closer to reality after California Transportation Commission staff recommended $20 million to fund a new interchange there, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County announced today.
If approved by the Commission in December, the money is expected to fully fund the $29.5 million needed to build the new interchange. The rest of the monies will come from $2.5 million in Measure X funds, nearly $2 million in State Transportation Improvement funds and $5 million in developer fees.
Construction of the interchange could begin sometime in 2022, according to Debbie Hale, TAMC's executive director, in a press release.
The project sat on the books for years, stalled by the presence of the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander, an endangered species. That hurdle was cleared with the passage of Senate Bill 1231 in September, authored by outgoing State Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel. The bill allows agencies to come up with mitigation plans to protect the salamander.