On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the California Transportation Commission approved $1.5 million to be used for landscaping at the Highway 1 and Highway 17 interchange area after almost a year of delay due to funding shortfalls.
The landscaping is intended to offset the uprooting of mature trees and other vegetation, an unavoidable step in the Highway 1/17 Merge Project, and restore the dense roadside vegetation that residents and tourists alike have some to expect of the Santa Cruz area. Plants removed during the project will be replaced at nearly a three-to-one ratio. Over 3,700 plants are proposed to be planted along the roadside, among them 1,700 vines to cover soundwalls, a mix of native trees and shrubs, and over seven acres of native grasses and wildflowers. It is estimated that as the plants grow and assimilate they will come to require no irrigation in roughly six years. Landscaping crews will begin work as soon as possible.