10,000 Trees in Next Phase as Santa Teresa Work Forges On

Hernan Cortez positions trees with a bulldozer as landscaping

With roadwork finishing up, the 250,000-square-feet of
landscaping begins
By Stephanie Condon Special to the Dispatch

Gilroy – After more than a year of work, motorists can finally expect to see normal northbound-southbound traffic flow on Santa Teresa Boulevard by the end of this month, said Steve Beams, the Gilroy’s chief traffic inspector.

The third and final traffic shift on Santa Teresa between First Street and Sunset Drive is scheduled for Oct. 24, Beams said, when northbound traffic will be moved back to the northbound lanes. There will still be traffic controls in place for about a week after that, such as cones in the road and four-way stops at the intersections while traffic lights are installed. Red blinking lights will alert motorists of the stops and they should be treated the same as stop signs, Beams said. Along with the lights at intersections that need to be installed, the crew will be putting in 72 streetlights along the city’s westernmost boulevard.

“On Oct. 24, what you’re going to see is a hectic seven-day period where we’re going to really have to get into traffic to complete the intersection,” Beams said.

After the many complaints from residents about the duration of the project and the delays in traffic it has caused, Beams said his team is accelerating their pace through this last stretch of construction.

“Rather than going around detours, I think the general public now says ‘set it down, get it done and get out of here,'” he said.

Before then, Beams said his team will pave the northbound lanes with two more inches of asphalt and complete the final striping. He said that they still have to add two more inches of asphalt to the southbound lanes as well, but that will take place after the Oct. 24 shift and will only close one lane at a time.

With the roadwork finishing up, the city is starting landscaping. After installing irrigation along the road furing the last month and a half, they have started planting the 10,000 trees that will decorate the medians and sidewalks. With that many trees, along with all the shrubs and ground cover to be planted, there is more than 250,000-square-feet of landscaping to finish. That’s just about the same amount of roadwork that’s being done, Beams said.

“We took an old farm road with a bunch of potholes, and now it’s going to be a super highway,” Beams said.

The 1.3-mile strip of Santa Teresa that is being reconstructed will include four lanes instead of two and will have sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as new soundwalls. Beams said the project, which broke ground 14 months ago, will ultimately cost about $7.5 million and should be completely finished by December.

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