Western Placerville Interchanges Project changes

By From page A3 | August 13, 2014

Five changes to the design plan of the Western Placerville Interchanges Project were approved by Placerville City Council on June 24.

The Western Placerville Interchanges Project is a phased project designed to improve traffic flow along the Placerville Drive/Forni Road/Ray Lawyer Drive/Highway 50 area. Phase 1a has already been completed and included the construction of a new westbound on-ramp from Ray Lawyer Drive to Highway 50, a new westbound auxiliary ramp between the new westbound on-ramp and the existing westbound off-ramp at Placerville Drive, realignment of Fair Lane, new retaining wall to support the construction and realignment projects.

Phase 1b consists of roadway improvements along Fair Lane north of the Phase 1a construction, new sidewalk and bike lanes on Fair Lane connecting the government center and the businesses on Fair Lane near Placerville Drive. It is currently unfunded.

Phase 2 would construct a new eastbound off-ramp from Highway 50 to Ray Lawyer Drive, realign Ray Lawyer Drive and Forni Road to accommodate interchange improvements and construct the park-and-ride facility at Ray Lawyer Drive and Forni Road. This phase is programmed for funding in fiscal year 2016-2017, with construction in 2018.

As the project has progressed from preliminary engineering to detailed review, changes were identified to improve the overall project. On June 24, a second roundabout was added to the project at the intersection of Forni Road and Lo Hi Way in order to provide better traffic control and reduce accident severity; the Weber Creek bike path was realigned to improve sight distance along the curve of Highway 50; a sidewalk will be added along the north side of Fair Lane and bike lanes will also be added along Fair Lane; the park-and-ride location will be near the Ray Lawyer Drive overcrossing and Forni Road will be realigned and widened west of Ray Lawyer Drive to accommodate turn pockets into the park-and-ride entrance, the county jail entrance and a potential El Dorado County courts project entrance.

An updated traffic analysis by Dokken Engineering showed that a roundabout at the intersection of Placerville Drive and Lo Hi Way would provide better traffic control due to a reduction in turn conflicts than a signalized intersection. A roundabout about at Placerville Drive and Fair Lane is already an approved part of the project.

The realignment of the section of El Dorado Trail, which was constructed as part of the Missouri Flat Road/Highway 50 Project, will construct a wall in the sloped area, pull the trail back and expand the sight distance just east of Weber Creek Bridge to its terminus at Forni Road/Lo Hi Way/Highway 50.

The addition of a sidewalk along the north side of Fair Lane will connect the existing sidewalk segments between the end of the current sidewalk at the County Government Center and the east end of the County Fair Shopping Center. Class II bike lanes are also proposed for Fair Lane.

Locating a proposed park-and-ride at the intersection of Ray Lawyer Drive and Forni Road replaces the potential location of the park-and-ride northwest of the intersection of Forni Road and Lo Hi Way; an area currently where the Weber Creek Bike Path has been extended and the new realignment is proposed. Working with the El Dorado County Transit Authority, the redesigned park-and-ride will have 150 spaces, a reduction of the 330 potential spaces from having two park-and-ride locations.

The widening and realignment of Forni Road just west of Ray Lawyer Drive to the intersection of Forni Road, Ray Lawyer Drive and Highway 50 ramps will accommodate turn pockets for the park-and-ride facility. Traffic from future development can be accommodated by a “T” intersection at Forni Road.

“Will you be coordinating construction with adjacent business and property owners?” asked Councilwoman Wendy Thomas. “There’s really only one way in or out for businesses likeĀ In-N-Out, Thompson’s Toyota and Schlotzky’s.”

Liz Diamond of Dokken Engineering said a traffic management plan will be maintained when the project reaches the design stage. “We are sensitive to business needs and we’ ll be asking what the property owners’ needs are,” Diamond said.

A Supplemental Environmental Impact Report was prepared for the modificationsĀ and is available on the city Webstite.

The changes to the WPIP were unanimously approved by the City Council.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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