Santa Cruz County commuters might be in for bigger headaches than normal if they’re trying to head north and into the Santa Clara County area.
Several projects along Highway 17 and Highway 1 may bring traffic to a crawl, with work this week expected to close off a lane of Highway 17 and the Fish Hook in Santa Cruz as a whole.
“People drive so fast to start off with that something like this might lead to more accidents,” says Franco Jorgensen.
Work on Highway 17 is expected to last this and next week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Big Moody Curve to the Alma Fire Station.
Highway 1 Fish Hook closures are overnight starting at 9 p.m. through 5 or 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
The work on Highway 17, however, is considered necessary to prevent wildfires.
That work is part of Cal-Fire’s “Shaded Fuel Break” project meant to clear brush which could act as an accelerant for wildfire.
Clearing that brush will take place along major evacuation routes on Highway 17.
“We want to reduce the energy that a moving fire would have when it hits a shaded fuel break,” says Cal-Fire Battalion Chief, Jim Crawford. “That should lower the intensity because the ground fuels have been removed.”
Those who need to travel on the Fish Hook will be detoured to Highway 17 and exit off Pasatiempo Drive before getting onto the southbound 17 to get back into the Santa Cruz Area.
No matter where you’re headed, make sure you slow down or move over for crews working on the shoulder.