Hindsight 2019: Roadwork extends into new year

First and Monterey streets near completion

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SIGNS OF TIMES Barricades, yellow tape and stop signs are familiar to residents and businesses along First Street in Gilroy. Photo: Barry Holtzclaw

Two of Gilroy’s major streets have been a construction zone for more than a year. But 2019 was expected to mark the completion of some major milestones, paving the way for an estimated finish in 2020.

First and Monterey streets received upgrades this past year, but not without some headaches for commuters and business owners.

After the California Transportation Commission approved more than $14.1 million to repave the pothole-laden First Street from Santa Teresa Boulevard to Highway 101 in June 2017, the city began sewer line improvements in mid-2018.

Following that project’s completion, the city went to work replacing 8,000 linear feet of the 100-year-old water line underneath First Street. The estimated $5.4 million project was completed in late fall of this year after months of various lane closures and temporary water shutoffs.

The Gilroy City Council in April had voted to eliminate all on-street parking on First Street between Santa Teresa Boulevard to Monterey Street to add bike lanes, crosswalks and other “complete street” amenities. 

First Street businesses such as First Choice Cleaners lamented the loss of the parking, saying it would negatively impact their business. But city staff said the average usage of the street parking hovered around 22 percent, with plenty of space available in nearby parking lots.

As of mid-December, Caltrans began preparation work for a complete repaving of First Street from the Highway 101 on-ramps to Santa Teresa Boulevard. 

Crews descended on downtown in late summer to begin preparing Monterey Street for repaving between First and Eighth streets.

As a way to help downtown establishments, a sign on Monterey Street near the Ninth Street intersection advised travelers that all businesses would remain open during construction.

Repaving and striping wrapped up in late November.

As of mid-December, Pacific Gas & Electric’s work on a gas main at the intersection of Monterey Road and Ninth Street was expected to continue through the end of the year.