Granite Construction is midway through the building of new Highway 1 northbound and southbound auxiliary lanes, bus-on-shoulder improvements, and the construction of a new bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing in Santa Cruz, California, pictured above. Construction began in March last year on this section of Highway 1 that is the busiest in Santa Cruz County, serving more than 100,000 vehicles daily.

Mixer trucks feed concrete to the pump truck in this overnight pour on the new overcrossing.

The overcrossing is a cast-in-place reinforced concrete box girder bridge, with 24”- to 72”-Cast-In-Drilled Hole (CIDH) concrete foundation piles with 42” supporting columns. The 300 cubic yards (CY) of bridge deck concrete is a polymer fiber, 6,000 psi mix.

The Granite crew, en masse, floating the freshly poured concrete overcrossing curb.

Additional concrete in the project includes 1,700 CY in the retaining walls, sound wall foundations, and barriers. More than 300 CY of concrete are going into the sidewalks, curb & gutters, and driveways.

The bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing ranges in width from 12 to 14 feet, will be lighted for safe nighttime use, and will incorporate aesthetic treatments reflective of the visual character of the corridor and the adjacent community.

To reflect the seaside environment, the bridge railing will include architectural treatments featuring a series of steel blue whale cutouts, including a life-size-scale 26’-long 8’-tall whale. The architectural whale theme continues with a sand-blasted blue whale medallion in the concrete sidewalk at the south landing of the bridge.

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), in association with Caltrans, the County of Santa Cruz, and local municipalities, partnered to make this project happen. The project is funded by the SCCRTC, with Local Measure D-Highway Corridor funds, California Senate Bill 1 grants, Federal Highway Improvement Program and other earmark funds, as well as other SCCRTC discretionary funds. The estimated project cost is $38.6 million, with Granite’s contract value at $29 million.

The project duration is 420 working days and projected completion is summer 2025. The new auxiliary lanes will connect the on-ramps with the next freeway off-ramp, thereby giving drivers extended distance to merge and creating a safer motoring environment in this very busy section of Highway 1.

Big thanks and a tip of the helmet go out to Brian Hussar, Granite Construction Manager, for his generous contributions to the story.