Monday, April 21, 2014

$80M Missouri Flat Interchange and bridges nearly complete

KMK_0108 ec

THE MISSOURI FLAT INTERCHANGE is now open to motorists, with the overall $80 million project anticipated to be complete by the end of the year. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

From page A1 | October 12, 2012 | 3 Comments

One of the largest transportation improvement projects in the history of El Dorado County is nearing completion. The $80 million U.S. Highway 50 Missouri Flat Interchange and Weber Creek Bridges project is now open to motorists with formal project completion anticipated by the end of the year, a statement from the county’s Chief Administrative Office announced Thursday.

“From a motorist’s point of view, the project is basically complete,” Deputy Director of the County Department of Transportation Matt Smeltzer said. “We continue to work on “punch list” (engineer jargon for the final things to be completed before a project is signed off) items like paint, striping, additional railing and erosion control, but are hoping for final inspections by the end of the year.”

The entire project was undertaken in two phases. Phase 1A was completed in 2008 and included improvements to Missouri Flat Road and expansion of the Missouri Flat Road interchange for a tight diamond formation. The $41 million project was funded with local transportation funds. Phase 1A won a national American Public Works Association Transportation Project of the Year award, the statement noted.

The more recent Phase 1B project included improvements to mainline Highway 50, seismic retrofitting of the eastbound and westbound existing Weber Creek Bridges and widening each bridge to three lanes.

The addition of auxiliary lanes between Missouri Flat Road and Placerville Drive allows motorists to leave one or the other neighborhood and arrive at the opposite neighborhood without having to merge with through traffic over the bridges.

Remaining portions of the project include construction of ramps for a tight diamond configuration and a bike and pedestrian path adjacent to Highway 50. The California Transportation Commission allocated $35.5 million for the project, which included $5 million in economic stimulus funds for the bike path.

Final construction of the new bike path east of the Weber Creek Bridge on Highway 50 is being temporarily delayed to make changes to the alignment that will enhance sight distance for motorists traveling eastbound.  The modified design will increase the separation between the bike path and the eastbound Highway 50 traffic lanes east of Weber Creek and west of Placerville Drive.

“The proposed realignment design changes will be more compatible with the future Western Placervillle Drive Interchange Improvement project, and minimize the amount of bike path reconstruction and cost in the future,” said Adam Bane, El Dorado County project manager.

Bane’s reference is to the proposed “project to construct a westbound on-ramp to Highway 50 from the existing Ray Lawyer Drive overcrossing.”

Documents from the City of Placerville note: ”Construction work will include the new on-ramp and auxiliary lane connecting to the westbound off-ramp at Placerville Drive and roadway work on Fair Lane and Ray Lawyer Drive including retaining walls and storm drain facilities, roadway lighting, relocation of sewer facilities, and a stormwater detention basin.”

The County and Caltrans expect approval of the bike path realignment plans and connection to Placerville Drive/Forni Road in mid-2013.  Construction is anticipated to take place in 2014, when additional funding is obtained. The bike path may be partially opened to the public between Missouri Flat Road and the east side of the Weber Creek crossing following formal completion of the interchange and bridge project.

Project Manager and DOT Senior Civil Engineer Adam Bane e-mailed the Mountain Democrat Thursday afternoon describing in more detail the project’s bike/walking path.

“The bike path is constructed on the eastbound side (Right hand side traveling from Sacramento to Tahoe) of Highway 50 only. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic will travel both directions on the single path,” Bane wrote.

“The delay in the path was caused by a compatibility issue that became apparent this summer, during the analysis of the Western Placerville Interchange which will affect the area adjacent to the current Placerville Drive/Forni Road bridge over Highway 50″, he continued.

“The compatibility issue for the path lies east of the Weber Creek Canyon. We are coordinating with Caltrans as to the limits which can be opened now. This section will generally be from Missouri Flat Road across the Weber Creek Canyon,” Bane explained.

“This section of path will allow for access to view the Canyon, but will not connect with Placerville Drive/Forni Road until the final phase is constructed in 2014 when additional funding is obtained. The final connecting section is in the design process now.”

 Overall construction costs for Phase 1B of the project have been approximately 90 percent of budget. As a result of the lower than expected costs, the Board of Supervisors was able to authorize payment for the restoration of the Motherlode Drive Park and Ride.  The profile of Motherlode Drive was raised seven feet during Phase 1A of the project resulting in the loss of several parking spaces, which will now be restored to full capacity.

While under construction in 1962, Pacific Road Builder magazine indicated that the Weber Creek Bridge project on Highway 50, “will always be one of the state’s most interesting.”

“Our project may no longer be one of California’s most interesting, but it’s definitely one for the El Dorado County history books,” said Smeltzer. “It is impossible to predict all of the variables in a project of this magnitude, but it has progressed well and the transportation improvements will be long lasting.”


Discussion | 3 comments

  • JustOctober 11, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    It's about time. Maybe the Indians can give some lessons on building roads and overpasses to the state.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Susi OrelliOctober 11, 2012 - 7:14 pm

    Good that they are still considering bicycle riders, too bad there will not be action for at least two more years.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mikeOctober 12, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    It's nice - except for one glaring design flaw! The Westbound 50 offramp to Missouri Flat Road - you know, the one with the "no right turn on red" signs. Clearly a design flaw that could have been easily avoided. What a PITA! BTW, if you decide to ignore the signs... it could cost you $300+.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .


    Air quality rating up in the air

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    GDPUD: Budget and GM are top topics

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

    Mountain lion seen in Placerville

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

    CTE a pathway to higher wages, higher-demand jobs

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

    Heard over the back fence: Earth Day at the library

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

    New top 10 fugitive could be in area

    By News Release | From Page: A3

    Community Action Council seeks new member

    By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

    Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinics May 3-4

    By Hangtown Kennel | From Page: A9



    Belltower: El Niño or el nada?

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    The balancing act: Save the whales

    By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4

    Retain Joe Harn as auditor

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 10 Comments



    Tell the truth, don’t confuse voters

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Local petitions circulating

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

    Chess club

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    True Christian

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



    Sports Scene: April 20, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    All Star team shows competive balance

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A6

    Australian rugby team visits Cameron park

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Roundup: Cougars drop finale

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    Red hot Rico Abreu blazes to victory

    By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

    Schedule: April 21-26, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    Rains to present at AMA conference

    By David Albee | From Page: A7



    Spend time in River City

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    As we were: Supervisors can’t decide

    By Ken Deibert | From Page: B2

    Cantare Chorale seeks new director

    By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B3

    Help with healthcare decisions

    By Snowline Hospice Thrift Stores | From Page: B3

    Time to enter El Dorado County Fair

    By El Dorado County Fair | From Page: B3

    Volunteers needed for day of service

    By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B10



    DUI Log: Feb. 28-April 3

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    Lake levels 4-17-14

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



    Dianne Johnson

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Michael R. Sponsler

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Daniel Bish Sr. funeral notice

    By Contributor | From Page: A2


    Real Estate




    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    American Profile Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Horoscope, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Horoscope, Monday, April 21, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8