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Loomis roads slated to be improved

By: Laura O’Brien, Loomis News Correspondent
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With the completion of Blue Anchor Park and related projects, Loomis public works is focusing on local roads.

Road improvement and upkeep projects totaling $700,000 are on tap for the 2013-2014 budget year, which began July 1, with work slated for Taylor Road, Sierra College Boulevard and Bankhead Road.

The work puts a dent in the list of projects in the town’s Capital Improvement Program, estimated at a total cost of about $70 million, said Brian Fragiao, director of public works.

This year’s roadwork includes asphalt overlays on Taylor Road from Sierra College Boulevard to Horseshoe Bar Road and on Sierra College Boulevard from Bankhead Road to Taylor Road. Bankhead Road will undergo reconstruction from King Road to Saunders Avenue. Taylor Road reconstruction is slated for next summer, including widening and striping from south town limits to Sierra College Boulevard, Fragiao said.

Loomis also will get two new turn lanes using mitigation funds from the Rocklin Crossings and Rocklin Commons shopping centers, including a new westbound right-turn lane on King Road at Sierra College Boulevard and a new northbound right-turn lane from Taylor Road to Horseshoe Bar Road.

The total cost of this year’s work was supplemented with $260,000 from the transportation account of the town’s General Fund Reserves.

“That’s going to really change because after this money’s used up it doesn’t replace itself as quickly,” Fragiao said. “It might take even longer to get to somebody’s street.”

The process of placing projects on the budgeted schedule involves road condition, direction from town council, coordination with other jurisdictions and agencies and input from the community, he said. Council previously reviewed the Capital Improvement Program every five years, but now reviews it annually. When projects are inserted into the schedule, such as Blue Anchor Park’s tot lot, the multi-use plaza, restrooms and spray pad, others must wait, he added.

Councilmember Dave Wheeler acknowledged the shortfall in roads funding.

“The town definitely needs to make sure that we have a good healthy budget in order to maintain our roads,” he said. “(The cost is) more than what the town brings in right now.”

For Loomis residents, their own streets take priority.

Fragiao said the new traffic signal at King Road and Swetzer Road may be completed in the next two months. Delays in the project, funded through last year’s budget, have included a permitting process for work next to the railroad tracks and delivery of poles.

In addition, the Interstate-80 overpass bridge raising project, planned at the Horseshoe Bar, Brace and King overcrossings is out to bid, he said. Caltrans plans six upcoming bridge raisings on I-80 in Placer County from Brace Road to Magra Road, in Magra, that will increase vertical clearance for vehicles. Construction on the $27-million project is slated to begin next year. Although the town did not contribute funding toward the project, it was involved in the design stage.

Looking ahead, construction is scheduled to begin on the improvements on Taylor Road for the Loomis Town Center in 2015-2016. Surveyors recently were in town working on the design stage for the new streetscape. Construction has been pushed out in the hope of garnering additional funding, Fragiao said.

“I’m tired of my street going downhill because you let a big corporation move in on the corner with heavy … trucks,” said Richard Jackson, who lives off Brace Road, at last month’s council meeting.