Santa Cruz beachgoers with an eye on cutting their drive time will hit a roadblock in Los Gatos this Memorial Day Weekend and beyond.
A popular and convenient shortcut via Santa Cruz Avenue that used to allow drivers to bypass a portion of the typically clogged Highway 17 will be closed starting Saturday morning and every summer weekend moving forward.
In years past, beachgoers took advantage of the southbound on-ramp at Santa Cruz Avenue to skirt pass bottlenecked highway traffic, but that stunt infuriated many Los Gatos residents and store owners.
"It's awful," store owner Tim Nelson said. "People could not get through town. They could not reach this end of town. Every street was backed up."
This time last year, the city of Los Gatos did close the on-ramp for Memorial Day Weekend and other summer weekends. It took some time to actually make a dent in the headaches.
"It just made for a lot of U-turns, but as the summer wore on and people figured it out and they got word out, it definitely did help," Nelson said.
The hope is that the word continues to spread, but not every store owner is convinced that change is possible.
"People are creatures of habit and they're going to do what they want to do anywhere, and they'll come through here like this weekend and it'll get blocked up," Lisa Lischka said.
Signs warning drivers about the closed on-ramp will be posted along Interstate 880 and Highway 17 leading up to Los Gatos.
Los Gatos leaders are spending roughly $300,000 to fix the traffic issues and collect traffic data.