Loomis-area roadwork motoring along

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Roadwork may bring improvements, but it can be a real nuisance for drivers. Many Loomis Basin roads are under construction and Placer County Transportation Planning Agency and Caltrans representatives held an open house at the Loomis Depot on Oct. 13 to give an update. SIERRA COLLEGE BOULEVARD The Town of Loomis and the City of Rocklin are working together on the widening of Sierra College Boulevard from Granite Drive to Taylor Road. Brian Fragiao, engineer for the Town of Loomis, said Rocklin is spearheading the project, which will cost $1.44 million. Dave Palmer, Rocklin senior engineer, said Loomis is contributing $519,000 and the rest comes from transportation fees through the South Placer Regional Transportation Agency. Palmer said the project includes widening the road to two lanes on both sides, installing a new traffic signal at Brace Road, and creating an irrigated landscape median to be planted and maintained by Loomis. This week, as part of a sewer line extension, Sierra College Boulevard is closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly from just past the Chevron station to Taylor Road. The entire widening project is expected to be completed in May 2011, Palmer said. INTERSTATE 80 BRIDGE RAISING Doug Lange, Caltrans project manager, said the project to raise nine bridges over Interstate at Brace, Horseshoe Bar, King, Penryn and Galardi roads is not expected to begin until 2013. Lange said Caltrans has now confirmed that all bridges will each be closed only for a maximum of 20 days because accelerants will be used to dry the concrete faster. The Horseshoe Bar bridge could be closed for as few as 10 days. INTERSTATE 80 According to Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Agency, carpool lanes and auxiliary lanes are being added to Interstate 80, both eastbound and westbound, from the Placer County line to just past Highway 65. McAdam said a freeway auxiliary lane is one that extends between two interchanges and is the onramp from one interchange that turns into the offramp for the next. The Interstate 80 project is being constructed in three phases. "We had not identified all of the funding, so we broke the project up into three phases. All phases are now funded," McAdam said. Phase one was funded by a federal earmark in the 2003 federal transportation bill known as SAFETEA-LU. Phases two and three use the same federal funds, plus state Proposition 1B bonds. The first phase added an auxiliary lane between Riverside and Douglas boulevards. It was completed in August 2007, three months ahead of schedule, at a cost of $8.8 million, McAdam said. Phase two is the construction of carpool and auxiliary lanes in both directions from the Placer County and Sacramento County line to Eureka Road. This phase is slated for completion by the end of 2010. After the weather warms, an asphalt overlay will be added in July 2011. The cost is $48 million. McAdam said a separate project, set to begin in spring 2011, will add lanes to the Eureka Road exit so that traffic does not back up onto Interstate 80. Phase three is the addition of carpool and auxiliary lanes from Eureka Road to just east of Highway 65. Construction began in fall 2009 and is expected to finish by July 2011. The cost is $34 million. TAYLOR ROAD EXIT Caltrans recently discussed closing the Taylor Road onramp and offramp in Rocklin as part of construction of the new Highway 65 interchange at Interstate 80. Both the Town of Loomis and the City of Rocklin opposed the idea. Samuel Jordan, Caltrans project manager, said the closure suggestion may be history. “Nothing has been finalized, but I’m fairly comfortable saying that there are other options that are as good, if not better than closing the Taylor Road ramps,” Jordan said. ROAD CONSTRUCTION SAFETY TIPS Do not speed in work zones; obey the posted speed limits. Stay alert; expect the unexpected. Watch for workers; drive with caution. Don't change lanes unnecessarily. Avoid using any mobile phones, including hands-free, while driving in work zones. Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you. Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times. Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you. Anticipate lane shifts, and merge when directed to do so. Be patient. Source: Caltrans