H-PASO ROBLES

May 17, 2012 9:38 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Construction in Paso Robles could cause extra traffic during wine festival weekend

The Paso Robles Wine Festival starts Friday, and if you're going, you may want to give yourself some extra time. You could hit traffic due to construction.

Since late last year, construction crews have been working on the Highway 46 East-Highway 101 interchange project. Crews are currently adding an on-ramp at 16th Street, and moving the 16th Street off-ramp. Construction on that is expected to be done in 2014. The 13th Street bridge is also being remodeled. The south side of the bridge will be done in about 9 months. The north side will take another 6 to 8 months after that.

On Friday, the city will be putting up more signs to make it easier for drivers to make their way around the construction.

Rod Smiley visits his son at Paso Robles Cleaners & Laundry a couple times a week. But his commute has become a little bit of a hassle. "It took me 30 minutes to get through this intersection here. I sat through 6 traffic lights," said Rod Smiley.

Since construction started, his son said business at the shop has been down about 20%. And, for people who don't want to sit in traffic, they now offer free pickup and delivery.

Rod's expecting havoc with the Paso Robles Wine Festival kicking off this weekend.

"You'll have people trying to park everywhere. There will be cars everywhere around here, and just overall traffic jam around here anyway. The extra influx of people," said Rod Smiley. "Yeah, it will definitely, and I can't wait to see what's going to happen during fair time. That's going to be nuts."

City projects engineer, Ditas Esperanza, said once the construction is done, there will be less traffic than there was before the project began.

"People who are new to the area, they tend to pay more attention. It's really the people who live here and are used to it. They're the ones that aren't paying attention. If you're new anywhere, you look, and you follow the signs [cause] you don't know what it was like before," said Ditas Esperanza.

But for Rod, he said, this weekend, he'll try to avoid the downtown area as much as possible.

Paso Robles, through the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, funded the construction project with a $10,000,000 grant.

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