By John Knight
Most residents of El Dorado County care about public safety, sheriff and fire services. Besides these services, most residents of El Dorado County are very concerned about traffic. I was first elected as District 1 supervisor in 2009 and I receive more calls and concerns about traffic congestion, construction and road conditions than any other issue. This article provides information to let you know what the county has done or is process of doing around this important topic.
The cost of the HOV Lane project on Highway 50, including the El Dorado Hills Boulevard interchange bridges, is $35 million and is projected to be substantially complete in October 2011. This project adds four miles of additional carpool lanes in each direction from the county line to Bass Lake Road; widens Latrobe Road and El Dorado Hills Boulevard under the freeway; replaces all bridges that carry traffic over Latrobe Road and El Dorado Hills Boulevard and auxiliary lanes for westbound Highway 50 and traffic over Silva Valley Parkway.
The project was to be completed in the fall of 2010. Construction was delayed due to two heavy rainy winters. The finishing touches for this interchange will come at a future date and will include modifications to the eastbound onramp and completion of the westbound off-ramp and the westbound onramp to Highway 50.
El Dorado County has received $20 million in air quality grants to further extend the carpool lanes from Bass Lake to Cameron Park Drive. Eventually, you will enjoy these additional lanes from Cameron Park to Watt Avenue. These additional lanes will improve traffic flow. If you take El Dorado Transit your ride time will shorten as well. Along with the addition of these new lanes, Caltrans is targeting to spend $17 million to rehabilitate overlay pavement on Highway 50 from Cameron Park to the Placerville city limit sometime in 2012. This will give a smoother ride for all of us who like to visit our wine region and Apple Hill.
The county was able to secure a State and Local Partnership Grant that paid for 50 percent of the construction cost of the White Rock Road improvement and signalization at Windfield Way and Post Street, and the widening of Silva Valley Parkway at Oak Meadow Elementary School.
The next and maybe final major project for El Dorado Hills will be the Silva Valley interchange. This has been a 20-year planned, $50 million project to build a new interchange just east of where the current Silva Valley Parkway crosses under Highway 50. Plans are almost complete and, with any luck, we might be under construction in 2012. This new interchange will help traffic flow better on El Dorado Hills Boulevard and make traffic circulation easier to Town Center and the El Dorado Hills Business Park.
Not only does our El Dorado County Department of Transportation (DOT) work on new construction, they are also responsible for maintenance and repair of our existing roads. Recent maintenance work has been completed on Malcolm-Dixon Road and Latrobe Road and in the Marina Village and Crown Village areas.
Funds for new construction and maintenance come from federal transportation grants, State funding sources and local funding. These funds are sometimes restricted for specific projects or uses and are also prioritized. One small project that I am currently working on with DOT is to alleviate the traffic that turns right off Francisco Drive to El Dorado Hills Boulevard. We are reviewing design concepts of an additional lane that turns right only in hopes to eliminate much of the traffic back up at that corner.
I’m looking enjoying our beautiful fall season in our area and look forward to hearing from you. I’ll be keeping you posted monthly on current topics, issues and needs in District 1. Please feel free to contact my office at [email protected].
Until next time, be well and God bless.