The California Department of Transportation has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed project to construct six miles of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lanes on Highway 101, beginning about four miles south of the Ventura County/Santa Barbara County line and extending about two miles into Santa Barbara County.

The hearing will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Carpinteria Middle School gymnasium, 5351 Carpinteria Ave. Parking is available at the Palm Avenue parking lot, behind the pool.

Caltrans has completed an initial study/environmental assessment for the project and expects to complete the final environmental document this fall. Anticipated construction date is winter 2011, with the project expected to complete in summer 2015. The estimated cost is $151 million.

Three design alternatives are under consideration. Both build alternatives would include a Pedestrian Undercrossing (PUC) in the community of La Conchita; eliminating left turn median openings at Mussel Shoals, La Conchita and Tank Farm; installing Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS); installing concrete barriers; and improving existing bicycle lanes.

Benefits of the HOV lanes include reducing congestion, improving traffic flow and facilitating the flow of goods and services.

At the hearing, the public will have the opportunity to view the proposed plans and make comments. Qualified staff will be on hand to answer questions and discuss issues related to ongoing congestion relief efforts along Highway 101.

Jim Shivers is a Caltrans public information officer.