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Project Information

Please see the information below to learn more about the proposed Project Description and Purpose and Need

Project Description


The Project is located along State Route 1 in San Mateo County, from post mile 36.49 to post mile 38.31 (from 0.09 mile south of 2nd Street in the community of Montara to 0.38 mile north of the Gray Whale Cove State Beach parking lot). Along the San Mateo County coastline from Pacifica to Santa Cruz, State Route 1 is known as the “Cabrillo Highway” and operates as a conventional highway. The route provides primary access to several communities as well as access to beaches, parks, and other attractions along the coast, making it a popular route for tourists. Within the project limits, State Route 1 is an undivided two-lane conventional highway that runs north-south with 11  to 12 foot lanes and 1 to 4 foot typical outside shoulders.

Two Build Alternatives and a No Build Alternative were considered. After the public comment period, Caltrans selected Alternative 1 as the preferred alternative. For more information on the Alternatives, please visit the Project Alternatives tab.

Project Location

The proposed scope of work includes replacing all existing nonstandard existing metal-beam guardrail (MBGR) with standard Midwest Guardrail System (MGS); replacing temporary K rail with safety barriers; installing retaining walls and safety barriers at multiple locations; and upgrading existing regulatory (white color) and warning (yellow color) signs to current standards. New barrier would be installed at 11 locations along State Route 1 within the project limits (see graphic below).


Three different barrier types were considered for the build alternatives: Midwest Guardrail System (MGS), Concrete Barrier (CB) Type 85, and Type ST 75. The proposed safety barriers would all be see-through barriers that would require a California Coastal Commission permit. New safety barrier approach and departure ends would require new end treatments unless they are buried into existing embankments.


Barrier Types Under Consideration by Location

Purpose and Need

The purpose of the project is to enhance traffic safety by reducing run-off-the-road accidents from errant vehicles within the project limits.


The project is needed because the Caltrans Office of Traffic Safety reported that from October 10, 2017, through September 30, 2020 (the most recent 3 year data reporting period), 33 run-off-the-road accidents (including 24 injuries and one fatality) occurred on this segment of State Route 1. The accident rates within the project limits were more than 1.5 times greater than the statewide average accident rates for similar facilities. Run-off-the-road accidents are more common within the project limits for three reasons: edge of pavement condition, steep drop offs, and lack of permanent barriers. Some portions of the roadway have little to no shoulder backing (a slight slope) along the edge of the pavement. These sections of roadway instead have a non-tapered edge, which can be more difficult to recover from if vehicle tires come into contact with the edge of the pavement. In addition, many places along the southbound side of State Route 1 within the project limits have a steep drop off to the ocean below the roadway. Lastly, some sections of the roadway adjacent to the steep drop offs are missing permanent barriers. If these issues are not addressed, there is a risk that vehicles may continue to drive off the highway, causing severe injury or death to motorists and passengers as well as Caltrans maintenance workers.

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