EFFORTS TO IMPROVE state Highway 37, one of the Bay Area’s most problematic stretches of highway, connecting U.S. Highway 101 to Interstate Highway 80, will receive a significant boost with $155 million in funding, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena said.

The funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be provided to a project, supported by state and local transportation agencies, that aims to elevate a part of the highway, the congressman said in a statement on Aug. 23.

“State Route 37 is an essential thoroughfare that faces significant risk from rising sea levels, threatening the commute for the millions who rely on it every year,” Thompson noted. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the most significant investment in our country’s infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s interstate system, and now the State Route 37 project is receiving a major boost from this historic law.”

According to Thompson’s office, the federal funding, along with $25 million in state funding, will help in elevating the highway by 30 feet over Novato Creek by 2029.

The thoroughfare, which connects Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties, has been plagued with flooding and congestion for years.

‘Critical’ upgrades

In February, a partnership was formed between the California State Transportation Agency, the California Natural Resources Agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Caltrans District 4, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to implement critical upgrades to Highway 37, while longer-term solutions are being figured out ahead of a projected rise in sea level.

“This is a critical Bay Area transportation corridor, and current projections are that it will be under water as soon as 2050 unless we act,” Caltrans director Tony Tavares said in a statement. “State and federal investments are coming at a critical time for California as we design climate-resilient projects like this to protect residents from flooding and the impacts of extreme weather events.”

Caltrans officials said they will release the highway project’s environmental impact report/ environmental assessment on Aug. 25 for public circulation. They said they will also hold a public meeting in late September and end the public comment period on Oct. 7.

In August 2022, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said the estimated cost of elevating the whole roadway was between $6 billion to $8 billion.