Nick Giannini has concerns.
Seven years ago the Serrano resident bought his Mertola Way home, in part for the peace and quiet it provided. Last year construction noise interrupted his calm nights as crews worked on the Highway 50 carpool lanes and bridge improvements nearby.
“When they were doing all the pile driving we heard it all night,” he said.
Now Giannini worries that the planned construction of the Silva Valley interchange will again disturb his slumber. When Giannini bought his home he said he didn’t even know about the interchange planned in his back yard.
“They did not say that but, then again, there might have been a map somewhere (with the interchange on it) that I didn’t see,” he said.
The Silva Valley interchange has been on many maps, since 1988, according to Rob Himes with Mark Thomas and Co., the company designing the interchange. In anticipation of massive growth in El Dorado Hills, plans for the interchange were approved by Caltrans and county officials in 1991 and last year LSA Associates released the project’s supplemental environmental impact report for public review. The review period ends March 7.
At Monday night’s presentation, held at the El Dorado Hills Library and hosted by the El Dorado County Department of Transportation and its consultants, Himes made one correction to the environmental report — a correction that affects Giannini and other residents. Some construction will be done at night.
“There won’t be any pile driving but there will be rock excavation,” said Adam Bane, a DOT senior civil engineer. “There’s a lot of rock out there.”
Construction crews will likely do some blasting and chipping to remove the rock, Bane continued, and doing that at night will have less of an impact on local and Highway 50 traffic. About 20 residents and property owners who attended the workshop later gathered around Bane to ask more specific questions about the construction process.
The Silva Valley interchange project is planned just east of the current Silva Valley Parkway-White Rock Road thruway. Phase 1 includes building a four-lane road and six-lane bridge that will go over Highway 50, as well as onramps and offramps, signalized intersections and a Class 2 bike lane. Tong Road will be shifted to the north and the current Silva Valley Parkway-White Rock Road will remain a two-lane road. The project will address traffic needs for 10-plus years, Himes said. Phase 2 will likely come after that decade mark, and includes onramp and offramp reconfigurations.
DOT has $27 million set aside for the project estimated to cost about $40 million (that includes purchasing right of way), DOT Director Jim Ware said.
“With the market what it is today we’re hoping (bids) will come in less than that,” added Matt Smeltzer, DOT deputy director of Engineering.
Blackstone developers will front the difference between what’s saved and the actual cost, Ware said. Though the project is 100 percent locally funded, Caltrans will own the interchange upon completion.
With the environmental phase wrapping up, the next steps are acquiring necessary right of way and completing all the permits needed to build the project. If DOT officials and their consultants don’t hit any significant snags construction could begin in spring 2012.
El Dorado Hills Community Services District Director Billy Vandegrift said he was encouraged by DOT’s schedule. “It should have been built 12 years ago,” he said of the interchange, “but the fact that we’re moving forward now is huge.”
Some frustrated by seemingly never-ending construction expressed concerns about overlap between the current Highway 50 work and the interchange construction.
Ware and others on his staff assured them all the carpool lane construction would be completed prior to any work on the Silva Valley interchange. The carpool lanes project, originally scheduled to wrap up last fall, extended into this year due to unseasonably wet weather last spring, DOT supervising civil engineer John Kahling earlier told Village Life. Work on that project is expected to wrap up early this summer. Crews need warmer temperatures to complete the paving portion.
One road project tying into the Silva Valley interchange will begin this summer, Ware added. Crews will widen approximately 1 mile of Silva Valley Parkway from Entrada Drive to a point 1,000 feet south of Oak Meadow Elementary School. The project includes creating four lanes (up from two), a sidewalk, bike lanes and left turn storage for the school, according to DOT’s project description. Estimated cost is $2.6 million.
Send in your comments
The Silva Valley interchange supplemental environmental impact report is available for review at the DOT office: 2850 Fairlane Court in Placerville; the El Dorado Hills Library: 7455 Silva Valley Parkway; and online at co.el-dorado.ca.us/Government/DOT/CEQA.aspx.
Written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on March 7. Send hard copies to 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville 95667, Attn: Janet Postelwait or via e-mail to [email protected]. E-mail comments may be included in the body text of the message or as an attachment in Microsoft Word or Adboe PDF format.
Include the following phrase in the e-mail subject line: “Silva Valley Interchange DSEIR Comments.”