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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / PIRU

Section of Highway to Open Tuesday

April 24, 1998|NICK GREEN

Two westbound lanes of a 4 1/2-mile section of California 126 east of Piru are scheduled to open Tuesday, according to California Department of Transportation officials.

The eastbound lanes on the same portion of the highway from Piru to one mile west of the Los Angeles County line are expected to be completed within two months.

That will end an $11.4-million project that began in December 1995 to widen the notoriously dangerous stretch of highway.

The area, however, will remain a construction zone until work on the eastbound lanes is completed, officials said. A 45 mph speed limit that CHP officers have stringently enforced since a string of fatalities in late 1996 and early 1997 will remain in effect.

Work to widen the entire 27 miles of California 126 from Santa Paula to the Los Angeles County line began in 1985.

The route is a popular connector for many motorists between the Ventura and Golden State freeways, but its rural character encourages speeding and has led to numerous deaths over the years on what has largely been a two-lane road.

Even after the work is completed in Ventura County, motorists will still encounter construction work on the five-mile segment of California 126 in Los Angeles County that is also being widened.

That $15.1-million project began last year and is slated for completion by April 1999.

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