FRESNO – The California Transportation Commission voted Wednesday to approve $23 million (ITIP) in statewide funding along with $10 million (RTIP) in regional funding needed to complete a dangerous six-mile stretch of Highway 41 in Fresno County.
A statewide crash and injury database shows fatal accidents in this area accounted for 35 percent of all fatalities on Highway 41 in Fresno County between December 2011 and January 2020.
The state funds approved today will be combined with $13 million of local Measure C dollars. The remaining $17.2 million will be provided by the Cal Trans State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP).
The construction phase of the widening project between Elkhorn and Excelsior Avenues is expected to begin in the Summer of 2025. As an interim safety measure, the area has been designated a no-passing zone and concrete barriers were installed.
Local officials and members of the Widen Highway 41 Facebook page started calling for the completion of the highway in November 2020 after back-to-back fatal accidents killed Ken Atkins and Joel Carrillo,
“This has been a very long and emotional process,” said widening advocate Lorna Roush. “On behalf of the surviving families, community members, and the public who travels this stretch, I want to thank everyone involved. Without this group effort, we would not have achieved this life saving goal.”
“What a lot of people said we couldn’t do, we did,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson. “It took a lot of people to get where we are today – leaders in our community who refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”
“Excited to hear that funding for the Excelsior Expressway on 41 has been approved,” said Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes. “This incomplete section of highway has been dangerous for drivers and too many lives have been lost. Completion of State Route 41 will save lives for decades to come.”