After decades of choking traffic between Novato and Petaluma, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for North Bay drivers. The Marin-Sonoma Narrows road project was approved for it’s last bit of funding by the staff of the California Transportation Commission and is expected to be approved by the commission this week.
At the Nov. 17 Novato City Council meeting, Councilman Eric Lucan reported that the decades-in-the-making improvement of the highway between Novato and Petaluma is reaching its final stage. It will be funded for an additional $40 million to get the nearly $1 billion road project finally finished.
“This is great, great news,” Lucan told the Council at it’s Nov. 17 meeting. Lucan is Novato’s representative on the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM).
When completed, it is expected to make the commute from Petaluma and Santa Rosa to Marin and San Francisco easier, cutting significant time off the drive. While Petaluma and Novato are only miles apart, the completion of the Marin-Sonoma Narrows project will bring those two communities closer together both socially and from a commerce standpoint.
Novato and Petaluma each have 60,000-plus residents and have traditionally been a haven for San Francisco workers looking to escape the high cost of living in San Francisco. The two areas have also been historically connected through agriculture interests.
The project widens 17 miles of US101 from four to six lanes by adding one high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction. It creates a controlled-access freeway section (no traffic signals or intersections) through the historic “Narrows” to improve traffic flow. And it upgrades the highway to current freeway standards from Route 37 in Novato to Old Redwood Highway in Petaluma.