Long waits for Auburn road project should be at an end

Two days of Dairy Road delays had motorists fuming
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - For a couple of days this past week, Auburn’s Tara Schmidd said that she felt like she was in a siege.

Contractors from Knife River Construction out of Chico had moved onto Dairy Road and had delayed her ability to get in and out of her Incline Drive-area home for as long as 40 minutes at a time.

“I was stuck and at their mercy,” Schmidd said. “The waits were between 20 and 40 minutes and I never had a quick getaway unless I could leave before they started before 6 or 7 a.m.”

The delays took place Tuesday and Wednesday along Dairy Road, including an Incline Drive area that has at least 100 houses. The area has just one entrance in and out – onto and off of Dairy Road.

Schmidd said that things were back to a sense of normalcy without any waiting on Thursday and Friday.

“And I’m happy to say that they’ve finally fixed Dairy Road,” Schmidd said.

Bernie Schroeder, city of Auburn public works director, said Schmidd wasn’t alone in voicing frustration over the delays.

“We definitely heard some complaints as the unfortunate consequence of doing this work on the roadway,” she said.

But Schroeder said that the positive side of the two days of concerted work by Knife River on the $435,000 project is that motorists will now have 20 years to drive on a repaired and repaved Dairy Road.

“For two days of inconvenience, we’ll not have further delays for another two decades,” Schroeder said. “There was a lot of effort by the contractor to get it done and beat the weather.”    

The road was never closed but there were delays on what is normally a heavily traveled road, the public works director said.

By Friday, equipment was idled and traffic was moving steadily along the smooth ribbon of roadway about a mile long devoid of construction crew members wielding “stop” signs.

Schroeder said the road was in need of a major overhaul and federal funding totaling $323,000 provided the majority of the money to move the project forward.

A crew will return Monday to uncover underground service entry points. When weather permits, new striping will be added, she said.

While the road hasn’t been widened, some areas affected by erosion and wear had been reconstructed. Generally, however, the work involved grinding the blacktop and repaving, she said.

“About 85-90 percent of work was done during those two days,” Schroeder said.