Report to Joint Powers Authority: Projects mostly on track
The El Dorado County/City of Folsom Joint Powers Authority held its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Folsom City Hall to update the two jurisdictions on the status of projects of mutual interest. Folsom Mayor Andy Morin, who serves as chair of the JPA, called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. with Folsom City Councilman Ernie Sheldon and El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting present. Supervisor John Knight was absent.
Folsom Director of Development Services David Miller reported the City is on schedule to have its application to annex the 3,500-acre Folsom Sphere of Influence heard at the Sacramento County Local Agency Formation Commission meeting on Dec. 7. This is the next step in the city’s plan to develop the property which lies south of Highway 50 to White Rock Road between the El Dorado County line and Prairie City Road. The Environmental Impact Report has been certified, the Specific Plan and General Plan amendments have been adopted, and the property has been pre-zoned.
Mark Rackovan, Folsom’s senior civil engineer, said that Alternative 2 had been selected as the proposed general alignment at the Capital SouthEast Connector JPA meeting on Oct. 14. The prospective 35-mile road with bike lanes goes from I-5 and Highway 99 south of Elk Grove to Highway 50 in eastern El Dorado Hills. The Connector is intended to alleviate traffic congestion on the existing highways, link residential and employment centers, and serve local and regional traffic needs.
Rackovan said the alternative selected generally follows the existing White Rock and Grant Line roads alignments. The SouthEast Connector JPA, which manages the proposed connector, consists of El Dorado and Sacramento counties and Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove cities. Each member agency will have to approve the portion of the general alignment that runs through its jurisdiction.
There was no update from the 50 Mobility Coalition, a private-public partnership whose goal is to support and promote projects designed to relieve congestion along the Highway 50 corridor.
El Dorado County transportation projects
Bob Slater, El Dorado County Department of Transportation assistant director, standing in for Director Jim Ware, described progress on Highway 50 auxiliary lanes. Work began on the section between El Dorado Hills Boulevard and Bass Lake grade in September 2008. There are 50 days left on the contract. It’s 98 percent complete. There is some electrical work remaining to be done. Caltrans is the owner and will do a final “walk-through” to sign off on the finished project.
The Department of Transportation is in the process of designing the improvements in the section between Bass Lake grade and Cameron Park Drive with Caltrans. The department expects the project will go to bid in March 2012, with construction anticipated to begin in December 2013.
Morin commended El Dorado County for its work on Highway 50, relieving traffic congestion in that area.
Slater said there is a holdup on the Silva Valley Interchange project. Caltrans has asked El Dorado County for money to deal with a 115-foot power line owned by PG&E that is in the right-of-way. Ware was unable to attend the JPA meeting because he was in negotiation with Caltrans to resolve the issue. “We’re on a tight timeline, so if it can’t be resolved our schedule will slip,” said Slater. The department’s capital improvement plan calls for construction to begin in January 2013.
No news on Saratoga Way, which would connect El Dorado Hills Boulevard to Iron Point Road in Folsom. “The funding has to come from development fees,” said Slater. “Right now there aren’t any.”
Two new traffic lights, one on each side of Latrobe Road, will appear on White Rock Road, said Slater. The one at Windfield Way, leading into the business park, has been installed. A second one, on the corner of Post Street, has been approved.
Folsom transportation projects
Rackovan said that Sacramento County has received a grant through the State Transportation Improvement Bond of 2009 from the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account to realign some tight turns on White Rock Road, including the turn connecting White Rock to Grant Line Road.
Regarding the rock quarries south of White Rock Road, Rackovan reported that the Sacramento County Planning Commission had recommended approval of Stoneridge Quarry’s EIR. A stakeholder group is working on a framework for preliminary collection and distribution of 12 cents a ton from Teichert and Stoneridge. A dedicated lane on Prairie City Road from White Rock Road to Highway 50 for the quarry trucks has been proposed.
Widening of the approximately one mile portion of Green Valley Road between the El Dorado County line and Natoma Street in Folsom has been delayed while the Corps of Engineers works on strengthening the Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam. “At the beginning, we didn’t know what they were going to do with the road,” said Rackovan. “At one time they were thinking of changing the alignment.”
Ernie Sheldon asked when work on that section of the road could begin. Rackovan answered that the Corps is scheduled to finish in 2012-13 and the Metropolitan Transportation Plan has forecast the road improvement to be complete by 2020. Sheldon responded that eight years is a long time and El Dorado County has improved the road in that area to the Folsom line.
Paul Raveling, from El Dorado Hills, compared the traffic backup to the situation at the El Dorado Hills Boulevard access to Highway 50 before that was improved.
Morin asked for a ballpark figure of the cost. Rackovan said it would probably be at least $5 million. “We have to do an EIR. We’re going through federal wetlands,” he said. Morin asked that the department do some preliminary work to get the EIR started and identify funding sources.
Sacramento/Placerville Transportation Corridor JPA
Rackovan reported that on Oct. 11 the Folsom City Council, as one of the members of the Joint Powers Authority, denied the request from El Dorado County to remove rails from a portion of the Rail Corridor in western El Dorado County. The other member agencies are Sacramento County and Regional Transit. Under the JPA’s Reciprocal Use and Funding Agreement, the JPA “shall not transfer any interest in the rail corridor without obtaining prior written consent of the Member Agencies.”
Mather STAR Update
Bill Wright, from Folsom, informed the JPA members that airplanes continue to fly over Folsom into Mather Airport during the “quiet time,” at night.
Chuck Coulson, from Folsom, added that the FAA is not responsible for the overflights. It’s the responsibility of the airports and the pilots, and is voluntary.
“Unfortunately, that’s always been a problem,” said Morin. “Now that Terminal B is finished, Sacramento County should have time to address the problem.”
The next meeting of the El Dorado County/Folsom JPA is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, in the El Dorado County Library Conference Room, 345 Fair Lane, Placerville.