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Santa Clara County Celebrates Almaden Expressway Improvement Project Completion

Project Expected to Reduce Congestion and Enhance Pedestrian Safety
 Almaden Expressway Signal Ceremony with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren at News Conference July 3, 2012
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, joined by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), County officials, infrastructure engineering and construction companies and community partners are celebrating the completion of the Almaden Expressway Improvement Project.   The project has been underway for the past nine months and delivers a number of improvements for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  
The project is fully funded by a combination of local funds (Measure B) and federal funds. That includes $4.32M from Measure B and $3.9M in federal funding composed of $1.5M from the Surface Transportation Programs Fund and $2.38M requested and secured by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. 
 Supervisor Mike Wasserman at Almaden Expressway Completion Project News Conference
“Thanks to the Almaden Expressway improvement project we're celebrating today, this section of notoriously congested highway will now be an avenue for smoother, safer travel and economic growth,” said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren(D-San Jose), who helped secure $2.38 million in federal funding for the $3.9 million improvement project.  "This means less traffic bottlenecks with new wider through lanes and turn lanes, improved safety signage, energy saving lighting, and bike lanes and sidewalks for pedestrian use benefitting our community.”

The strategic addition of lanes will help the traffic flow in the area. A fourth northbound lane has been added on Almaden through Supervisor Ken Yeager at Almaden Expressway Completion Project News ConferenceBlossom Hill which feeds Highway 85.  A fourth southbound lane has been added at Cherry Avenue, feeding Highway 85 and Blossom Hill.  Blossom Hill Road has been widened for eastbound left turns to Almaden.  A dedicated westbound right turn lane also has been installed at that location.  These improvements increase capacity at key intersections improving signal timing and traffic flow.
Other project improvements include a lane added on Almaden Plaza Way to reduce the traffic backed up onto Highway 85.  The corners of some of the intersections and at Branham Lane were updated to accommodate safer pedestrian crossings.  A left-turn lane has been added for traffic leaving the Best Buy/Wal-Mart shopping area.
Sidewalks were added at three areas to close the gaps in sidewalks and make it possible for pedestrians to continue through the area safely.  Continuous bike areas have been delineated with striping.  The striped areas signal to drivers and bikers that space is dedicated for bikes to navigate safely through Almaden Expressway traffic.
“Busy road traffic often makes it more difficult for bikers and pedestrians to share the roads,” sai d Supervisor Ken Yeager, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “Not only do these Almaden Expressway improvements address traffic congestion problems, they also have enhanced bike and pedestrian safety, which will encourage people who want to use these alternatives to motor vehicles.”  Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren at Almaden Expressway Completion Project News Conference

Frank Dorsa, Classic Carwash, representing local businesses at the Almaden Expressway Completion Project News ConferenceEnergy-saving lighting fixtures have been installed.  In addition, smart pedestrian detectors have been installed at intersections.  These detectors sense pedestrians in the crosswalks and time the signal accordingly. 
“Driving through this segment of Almaden Expressway should be a smoother experience for District 1 commuters and residents,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors.  “The additional lane to Highway 85 will reduce queuing on Almaden at Blossom Hill.”  
Almaden Expressway is approximately 8.5 miles in length and serves approximately 150,000 daily users.  It extends Roads and Airports Department Director Michael Murdter with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren at the Almaden Expressway Completion Project News Conferencefrom Harry Road in the south to Highway 87 in the north. Almaden Expressway contains 19 signaled intersections and two major freeway connections to Highway 85 and Highway 87. The expressway is designed to relieve local streets and supplement the freeway system.
The section of Almaden Expressway between Blossom Hill Road and Branham Lane is the most congested section of the expressway, as drivers commute to and from Almaden Valley, access commercial properties along this segment, and enter and exit from State Route 85.
In addition to easing traffic congestion by adding lanes, the project will help motorists save gas, by reducing idling, which also will improve air quality.
The project was approved by the County Board of Supervisors On March 15, 2011. In August, the Board awarded the contract to Granite Rock Company dba Pavex Construction Division in the amount of $4,844,258.50, 9.96% lower than the Engineer’s Estimate. The construction started in September 2011.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Shirley Zackor, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119
Dan Collen, Roads & Airport Department, (408) 573-2492
Post: July 3, 2012