Matt Brown, PETALUMA ARGUS-COURIER
Imagine driving along a four-lane elevated causeway above the brackish San Pablo Bay, shaving more than an hour off the normal Highway 37 commute.
Transportation planners have for years envisioned remaking the 20-mile route from Novato to Vallejo into the North Bay’s most important east-west corridor. Now, they are ready to act.
Officials in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties have been meeting for several years, pondering solutions to Highway 37’s notorious bottlenecks, where 45,000 cars per day stretch the normal 20-minute commute to as much as 100 minutes. They have also acknowledged that traffic improvements will be irrelevant without addressing sea level rise — without action, the highway will be underwater in 30 years.
The first fixes will be completed within the next seven years, officials say, and a new formal partnership defines the roles various agencies will play and sets the process in motion.
Branded as Resilient State Route 37, the program that includes the transportation agencies of the four counties plus Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority, is planning vast changes to the highway. The Sonoma County Transportation Authority signed onto the partnership on Monday.