Highway 17 tree removal causing heavy traffic delays, but expected to wrap up Friday


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Work crews from Caltrans District 4 have been working along Highway 17 to clear downed and crooked trees damaged by the series of storms that have battered California’s central coast for most of the year, gradually clearing portions of the main thoroughfare from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m 3 p.m. Closed This has caused significant traffic delays for commuters traveling between Santa Cruz County and Los Gatos and beyond.

Beginning Tuesday afternoon, when the bay was dry and mostly sunny, Transportation Department workers were tending to damage along the northern section of the freeway between The Cats restaurant, just outside of Los Gatos, and Summit Road near Santa Clara-Santa County Cruz line.

Caltrans District 4 spokesman Victor Gauthier said crews expect to be ready by 3pm on Friday, marking an end to disruptive daytime lane closures.

He added that the work is largely to prevent the effects of further storms: “The rain has hit us really hard and there is a lot of unexpected work that needs to be done.”

After the current tree clearing campaign, road works are carried out at night.

Beginning Monday through July, Caltrans will close one northbound lane and one southbound lane between Hebard Road adjacent to Lexington Reservoir and the Highway 17-Highway 9 interchange for repaving, strip marking and guardrail repairs. The agency says these closures will last from 9pm to 6am Monday to Friday