Interchanges project begins; road closures on Fair Lane expected

By From page A5 | October 26, 2012

Construction of the long awaited Western Placerville Interchanges Project is scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 29. Phase 1A, the first phase of the project, will include the building of a westbound offramp to Highway 50 from Ray Lawyer Drive and an auxiliary lane to connect to the offramp at Placerville Drive. At Tuesday’s Placerville City Council meeting, City Council members approved a construction schedule that includes six weeks of closures to part of Fair Lane.

From Nov. 7 through Dec. 18, a 1,000-foot section of Fair Lane will be closed east of Vintage Transport at 161 Fair Lane to the driveway at the El Dorado County Juvenile Hall at 299 Fair Lane. All businesses along Fair Lane will remain open during the road closure, including those in the Country Fair Plaza, Vintage Transport, all county governement offices, the county courts, Sheriff’s Office and the El Dorado County Library.

Access for business and homes located below the west end of the closure will be Placerville Drive to Fair Lane while access to the library and the county government offices above the closure will be from Ray Lawyer Drive to Fair Lane.

The Fair Lane closures reduce construction time by an estimated 32 days and construction costs by an estimated $66,500, according to a schedule by Doug Veerkamp, General Engineering, contractor for the first phase.

“We talked to Veerkamp about how to save money on the project,” said Community Development Director Mike Webb at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “Instead of having a controlled access during construction, a full closure allows them to operate on both sides of the road at once. Road closures create an inconvenience to the travelling public and are not to be considered lightly, but we want to do them when there is a big advantage to do so.”

“Now that the detours have been worked out, the savings is worth the small inconvenience,” said Councilwoman Patty Borelli.

“We’ll be able to build retaining walls and do the sewer and drainage by December,” said City Engineer Nate Stong. “Then this first phase of the project will shut down for the winter. We’ll pick up the rest of the phase in the spring of next year and finish it by October 2013.”

 The Western Placerville Interchanges project as a whole is designed to improve the Forni Road/Placerville Drive Interchange and upgrade the Ray Lawyer Drive Overcrossing to a full interchange with the construction of highway on and off ramps. Segments of Forni Road, Placerville Drive, Fair Lane and Ray Lawyer Drive will be widened and improved as well as improvements and modifications to east and westbound U.S. Highway 50 ramps to and from Forni Road, Placerville Drive and Ray Lawyer Drive. Other phases of the estimated $40 million WIP project will be completed as funding is secured.
Phase 1A, the first phase of the WPI Project, has an estimated cost of $7.3 million, funded by $6 million in Proposition 1B-the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account and $1.2 million from El Dorado County.

El Dorado County Administrator’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the Fire District were included in the discussion of the road closure and gave their approval said Keith Flaherty, resident engineer representing Vali Cooper & Associates, Inc. construction managers for the project. Emergency vehicles will have 24-hour access to Fair Lane despite the closure.

Notifications of the impending Fair Lane closure will be sent to county and state offices located at the County Government Center, affected residents and agencies that serve the community such as the Post Office and garbage companies. Roadside message boards will be set up 10 days prior to the closure.

To follow the phases of the WPI Project, visit the Website at “We’ll be updating the Website with maps of the detours,” said Flaherty.

For questions about the project, call Nate Stong at 530 642-5250.

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

Wendy Schultz

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