PASO ROBLES — Motorists traveling through the Airport Road and Highway 46 intersection are now experiencing a significant change in traffic patterns as the left turn lane from Airport Road to Eastbound 46 was permanently closed starting on Tuesday, May 7.

This infrastructure improvement initiative aims to enhance safety and efficiency at the intersection. Road construction activities will occur overnight, with specific hours to be determined. During construction, drivers should anticipate delays and exercise caution, as flaggers will be onsite to assist with traffic management.

With the closure of the left turn lane, motorists are advised to plan alternate routes when traveling from Airport Road to 46 East. Recommended alternate routes include Dry Creek to Jardine or Union to Golden Hill. Those heading to the Central Valley can also take Airport Road to Estrella Road to the Highway 46 East onramp near Whitley Gardens.  


The construction project is expected to last approximately one week.

Background for removing the left turn lane:

  • The closure of the left out at Airport Road is a condition of approval for three projects near the airport.
  • Daou Winery, Treana Winery, and Stravinsky Development Group (the applicants) have all approved projects for wine storage and shipping (two also produce wine).
  • The traffic studies for the projects identified semi-truck left-turning movements as a significant safety issue.
  • All three increase semi-truck traffic on Airport Road and increase safety concerns with semi-trucks making left turns onto SR46/Airport Road.
  • The environmental document identified the closure of the left turns as the most appropriate mitigation.
  • The city studied a signal at this intersection, and there are issues with turning movement hazards, sight distance, and high speeds which do not meet Caltrans standards for signal installation.
  • Caltrans will therefore not allow a signal at this intersection.
  • Caltrans requested that the left out onto 46 East as part of the project traffic mitigations, be closed to eliminate the safety concerns with left-turning vehicles. Caltrans requested the mitigation to enable Airport Road/SR46 intersection to work more effectively and to address safety issues with left turns.
  • The applicants have approval from Caltrans to install an island and right-turn channelization.
  • This is the first step in the larger project to install an overpass at Union Road. The overpass will require the closure of the left outs at Union Road and Airport Road. This project is currently undergoing design and environmental review. 

The project will: 

  • Increase traffic safety by eliminating the potential for broad-side accidents at Airport Road. The left-turn restriction will eliminate slow-moving vehicles from turning across SR46.
  • Eliminate conflicts between vehicles turning left out of Airport towards Fresno and vehicles turning left onto Airport from SR46.
  • Decrease the afternoon traffic queue and driver delay for vehicles turning right onto SR46 as the left-turning vehicles will not longer block the right-turning vehicles.
  • The eastbound turning movement alternatives available to the motoring public include:
    1. The Jardine Road Intersection for left turns onto SR46 East.
    2. U-turn at Golden Hill Road Signal
    3. Union Road to Golden Hill Road to the right turn at SR46 East.

Motorists should use caution when driving during construction and always use appropriate caution while driving.