Construction often is a noisy business. That will be in evidence in Petaluma during the next few weeks as Caltrans begins pounding piles into the earth for the East Washington-Highway 101 interchange project.

Tree cutting and land clearing has been ongoing for the past couple of weeks as crews prep the site for a redesigned junction in the busy traffic zone.

Beginning Tuesday, that work will take on a new dimension as Caltrans begins driving piles along the northbound 101 route.

Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said the pile-driving is the first major step in a process that will build a new onramp from westbound East Washington Street directly onto northbound 101. Currently, westbound drivers must cross oncoming traffic and travel through a southbound loop before heading north.

The project will also include a new, straighter onramp from East Washington to southbound 101 and an expanded offramp from northbound 101 onto East Washington that will have double the existing lanes.

The pile driving will continue weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for three to four weeks, weather permitting.

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