Highway 101 Project PHOTO.JPG

A flagger holds northbound traffic on U.S. Highway 101 as vehicles move south through a worksite in Smith River.

A culvert repair project along U.S. Highway 101 in Smith River will continue well into October, with transportation officials hoping for motorists’ patience.

The Ritter Creek project is designed to fix a failing culvert. Flaggers have been controlling traffic through the area, limiting travel to one lane.

CalTrans public information officer Myles Cochrane said 20-minute delays through the construction zone can be expected.

“Next Wednesday, Sept. 4, we will be installing a temporary signal system that could be in place until the end of October,” said Cochrane. “We are aiming for earlier, but weather can slow us down sometimes.”

The signal light will limit traffic to one lane though the work area. Cochrane said temporary flagging was in place this past week for water utility relocation.

“We realize there is heavy traffic and we do understand it is an inconvenience to wait,” he said. “The end goal is for water not to accumulate on the highway.”

Cochrane said the project will also be an environmental plus for fish. “We are creating a more-friendly fish passage in the nearby creek. That will be wonderful for fish migration there.”

The good news for Labor Day travelers: Crews will not be working at the site over the holiday, Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

The repair is part of a $3.25-million overall culvert system improvement that included work along Highway 197.

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