Efforts to widen Highway 46, one of the most dangerous two-lane roads in Kern County, have succeeded in turning a nearly 30-mile section of the well-traveled asphalt between the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast into a four-lane expressway.
Three separate California Department of Transportation projects have widened sections of the route from the San Luis Obispo County line east to Brown Material Road near Lost Hills, adding an additional lane in each direction at a price of $103 million.
The last sections of four-lane pavement were opened to the public a couple of weeks ago, Caltrans spokesman Jose Camarena said Monday.
More work is scheduled to be done starting in 2016. That work will take the four-lane widening work from Brown Material Road through Lost Hills to Interstate 5.
Highway 46 became legend in 1955 when actor James Dean died after a nasty crash on the route.
Over the years it has been pinned with the nickname "Blood Alley" because of frequent, deadly head-on collisions on the narrow road -- many triggered as travelers darted out into oncoming traffic to pass slower-moving vehicles.
Highway 46 connects I-5, Highway 99 and the south valley to the Paso Robles wine region and popular coastal vacation spots of Morro Bay, Cambria, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach and San Simeon along Highway 1.
The extensive work, which started with improvements to the unpaved sides of the highway, has enhanced the route over the past three years.