Olancha Cartago 4 Lane Project

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), as CEQA lead agency, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as NEPA lead agency with the support of Inyo County Local Transportation Commission will convert approximately 12.6 miles of the existing U.S. Highway from a two-lane conventional highway into a four-lane expressway from post mile 29.2 to post mile 41.8 in Inyo County.

The controlled-access four-lane divided expressway will pass west of the town of Olancha and the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Once the alignment crosses Olancha Creek, the project will cross the Los Angeles Aqueduct and continue north through Cartago along the existing highway to meet up with the four-lane section of U.S. Highway 395 to the north of Cartago. The northbound and southbound lanes would be separated by a 100-foot-wide unpaved median.

What's New!

August 9, 2021

Caltrans will advertise the Olancha-Cartago project on Monday, August 16, 2021. Bidding will open on Thursday, October 7, 2021. Construction is scheduled to begin in January of 2022. For information on how contractors can work with Caltrans, please visit Contractor's Corner.

January 8, 2021

The project schedule has been update to reflect its most current version.

January 24, 2018

Caltrans is currently in the design and right of way phases. Residents affected by the new alignment will receive a notice of decision to appraise from the Caltrans Right of Way department. In addition, Caltrans is in the process of acquiring required permits from regulatory agencies. After construction, Caltrans intends to relinquish a portion of the existing two-lane U.S. Highway 395 to Inyo County.

Why this project is needed

US 395 is a Priority Interregional Highway in the Caltrans Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan, part of the National Network of truck routes, and included in the Caltrans Highway Freight Network. The highway is vital to the economy of the Eastern Sierra region and is one of five major recreational corridors identified for Southern California. The highway has recurrent congestion and the fatal accident rate is higher than the statewide average for a similar facility.


This project will increase roadway safety, close the gap between existing four-lane sections to the north and south, meet present and future vehicular and goods movement traffic demands, and bring the highway up to current design standards. It will include features such as new northbound and southbound lanes separated by a 100’ median, new 10-foot shoulders, new at-grade intersections, two new structures over the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and a new non-motorized multi-use undercrossing.

Funding and Partnership

This $83 million project is jointly funded by Inyo and Mono Counties’ Local Transportation Commissions, Kern Council of Governments and Caltrans with State Transportation Improvement Program funds.

Project Schedule*

  • May 2017: Environmental Document (EIR/EIS) approved
  • August 2021: Advertise Project
  • October 7, 2021: Bidding opens
  • January 2022: Begin Construction

* Dates are subject to change.

Environmental Document and Technical Studies

The Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment with Section 4(f) Evaluation was circulated from August 12, 2015 through October 10, 2015 and a Public Hearing was held on September 23, 2015 in Olancha. All comments received during circulation have been addressed in the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment with Finding of No Significant Impact and Section 4(f) Evaluation.

Project Contacts