After years of setbacks ground will break on the Silva Valley interchange in October, according to El Dorado County Community Development Agency Transportation Division official Adam Bane.
Plans for the interchange have been in the works since 1988 and in 1991 Caltrans and county officials formally approved it to accommodate planned growth as noted in the El Dorado County General Plan as well as the El Dorado Hills Specific Plan. Phase 1 will include a new four-lane road and overpass over Highway 50 just east of the current Silva Valley Parkway, onramps and offramps, signalized intersections and new bicycle/pedestrian facilities, according to the county’s Capital Improvement Program. The project is currently out to bid and Bane estimates it will cost around $30 million.
“The only thing that could possibly hold up the project now is if bids come in much higher than that,” he said. “If they are in excess, the board would have to make a decision, but I am confident things are on the right track to start construction in October.”
Traffic Impact Mitigation fees cover most of the expected costs, said Bane. Developers pay these fees when constructing homes. TIM fees have accrued to fund the Silva Valley Interchange since 1988, Bane explained, yet the TIM program has been “up and down over the years.”
The county has also secured a $1 million local and state partner grant as part of Proposition 1B transportation funds. The interchange will be a cooperative project between Caltrans and the county, giving right-of-way portions to each.
Bane said there were other hiccups that held up construction, including, most recently, “minor Environmental Impact Report modifications,” that came up just prior to the start of construction last year. The county also had to work with neighboring landowners to acquire right of way.
“All property owners have been cooperative thus far and all developers involved have fulfilled their obligations,” said Bane. “I am fully confident things are finally on track to move the project forward.”
The interchange is designed to decrease traffic congestion on other major El Dorado Hills arteries and improve travel time by providing direct access to Highway 50 via Silva Valley for drivers who would otherwise use Bass Lake Road or El Dorado Hills Boulevard.
For residents worried about noise and nighttime construction, Bane said the vast majority would be done during the day.
“Night work would only be done when necessary for traffic and safety,” he said.“When we’re constructing the overpass we can’t do it all with live traffic and we can’t shut down Highway 50. So nighttime construction will be done on a day by day basis.”