Highway widening project under way

first_imgTHOUSAND OAKS – After a three-year delay, construction has begun on a $65 million program to widen Highway 23 between Thousand Oaks and Moorpark – the first of three projects aimed at improving traffic flow in eastern Ventura County. The three-year project will add one lane in each direction between the Ventura Freeway and New Los Angeles Avenue. “There’s no question that Highway 23 has been a top priority,” Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks, said at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday. “This day has been a long time coming. In many ways, too long. … It will be something generations and generations will appreciate.” (805) 583-7604160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsWork on the project was slated to begin in 2003, but was delayed because of state budget woes. Since then, construction costs have skyrocketed by about $20 million, officials said. The project, funded with state and federal money, will bring much-needed relief to commuters during peak driving hours, officials said. Additionally, there are plans to widen the Ronald Reagan Freeway between Tapo Canyon Road in Simi Valley and the Los Angeles County line – a project scheduled to get under way later this year – and expand the interchange between the 23 and the 101 freeways, which creates a bottleneck in Thousand Oaks. “This is a major, gigantic step in relieving the situation,” said Thousand Oaks Mayor Dennis Gillette. “It’s the beginning.” Route 23, which was built in the 1960s, will be widened from four lanes to six by providing one lane in each direction in the wide, undeveloped median. The project, which includes soundwalls, was derailed because gasoline tax transportation funds from Proposition 42 were diverted for other spending during the administration of former Gov. Gray Davis. “We were always diligent in staying on top of the funding situation so when Sacramento had money to release, we were ready to go,” said Keith Millhouse, a Moorpark city councilman and member of the Ventura County Transportation Commission. “It’s nice to finally get to this point and it shows what we can do when we have money.” [email protected] last_img