No one, it seems, is arguing that something needs to be done about the stretch of Highway 101 through Greenbrae. The argument comes with trying to decide what to do, how to do it, along with where and when.
The Greenbrae Interchange Project has been a battle among board members of the Transportation Authority of Marin for years, with several modifcations being made to ease concerns among the primary stakeholders, including the Town of Corte Madera, the City of Larkspur and the Greenbrae neighborhood.
The project will be presented to the public during an informational open house Monday, from 6-8 p.m., at Redwood High School's cafeteria. The Draft Environmental Document, which is supposed to be released later this year, will not be available for review or for official comments.
"We're trying to reacquaint stakeholders with the project. We had a scoping meeting in September of 2009 and that was really our last open house," TAM Project Manager Bill Whitney said. "We just want to reacquaint everybody with it. Then we'll release the DED later this Fall."
The DED, currently being reviewed by CalTrans, will be made available for a 45-day public comment period in October, according to TAM.
According to a TAM press release:
"The purpose of the project is to reduce traffic congestion within the Greenbrae/Twin Cities Corridor by alleviating the short merging, diverging, and weaving areas along US 101. This will be accomplished through the reconfiguration of existing US 101 interchanges, and the construction of auxiliary lanes and collector-distributor roadways. Auxiliary lanes are constructed between on and off ramps to allow drivers a safe way to merge into traffic while also preventing bottlenecks caused by drivers attempting to enter or exit the freeway. Collector-distributer roadways are parallel roads to the freeway which help move traffic from local streets to the freeway."
Some of the changes include:
• The proposed flyover would create one lane for drivers coming from Sir Francis Drake to exit onto Fifer.
• There would be another lane for drivers entering from Drake to merge onto Highway 101.
• Drivers coming from San Rafael on Southbound 101 won't be able to exit onto Fifer. They instead will be carried on an elevated section to the exit at Wornum Drive.
• The pedestrian overcrossing that currently spans the highway would be eliminated. Pedestrians and cyclists would be expected to take Wornum Drive to get from one side of the highway to the other.
• The bus stop at Lucky Drive on Northbound Highway 101 would be eliminated. There would be a bus stop at Wornum along the Northbound side of 101. There would also be two bus stops on Southbound 101 near Fifer.
• Drivers who currently try to get on Northbound Highway 101 wouldn't have to take the Lucky Drive entrance and quickly merge with traffic while trying to get up to speed. There would instead be a longer onramp near Wornum that would merge with northbound traffic.
The proposed changes could force more traffic onto Wornum Drive and create gridlock on Tamal Vista Boulevard, especially during peak hours before and after school, according to Corte Madera Vice-Mayor Diane Furst.
Opponents have also been critical of the scale of the project, which could stand more than 50 feet above ground level at its highest point. Whitney says the elevated portion of hte project won't be any taller than the current Wornum Drive overpass.
TAM has budgeted $132.933 million for the project, with money coming from Measure E funds. Construction of the project is scheduled to begin in October 2014 and be completed by December 2016.
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