Money saver: Fair Lane closure extended

By From page B1 | January 14, 2013

The temporary road closure of part of Fair Lane was extended through Feb .3 by a unanimous vote of City Council at Tuesday’s meeting. The closure of both lanes of  Fair Lane from Vintage Transport up to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office began the week of Oct. 29 and was extended from its original six weeks to Jan.8 due to weather. Closure of both lanes allowed acceleration of the work and saved the cost of traffic control.

This second extension of the closure comes partially from weather delays, but, more importantly, a change in the current project phase. Project 1A of the Western Placerville Interchanges Project involves the construction of a new westbound onramp from Ray Lawyer Drive to Highway 50 and an auxillary lane to connect to the offramp at Placerville Drive, and improvements to Fair Lane, including retaining walls, drainage improvements and undergrounding of utilities. Six million dollars in Corridor Mobility Improvement Account funding and $1.2 million from El Dorado County have been appropriated to pay for this phase of the project.

Phase 1B of the project will realign Fair Lane, straightening the dangerous curve, and construct bike lanes and sidewalk. City Engineer Nate Stong and Resident Engineer Keith Flaherty proposed a change to  include the straightening of the Fair Lane curve as part of the work to be completed in the current phase rather than to do it later during Phase 1B as scheduled.

Straightening the curve as a stand-alone project is estimated at a cost of $600,000 and would necessitate the closure of Fair Lane once again at a later date when Phase 1B is started. By using $167,000 of already appropriated funds and doing the curve realignment now, there is an estimated cost savings of $450,000 and a future closure of Fair Lane will not be needed.

“As long as we are in there we could get it done now and not have to go back and do it later, ” said Flaherty. The new curve will tie in to the existing road in two locations. Attempting the tie-ins while traffic is present is inefficient, according to a staff report by Stong and so the extension was required.

The Western Placerville Interchanges Project is estimated at $40 million and funding has only been obtained for Phase 1A. The project’s future phases include improvements to Ray Lawyer Drive and Forni Road south of Highway 50 and reconstruct and widen the Placerville Drive overcrossing as a solution to existing and future operational issues on the state highway and local road systems.

Councilwoman Carol Patton asked how Phase 1B was funded.

“It is currently not funded,” said City Manager Cleve Morris. “We are looking at CMAQ funds (Congested Mitigation and Air Quality) during the next funding cycle, but this (curve addition to Phase 1A) would come from the county funds we received.”

Placerville resident Sue Rodman commented that the Fair Lane closure is working well now.”Saving money and fixing things now rather than waiting for a future time with having to put up retaining walls and then having to take them down again makes sense.”

Built into the extension of the closure is a weather clause, allowing one extra day of closure for each day weather does not allow work to progress, so the closure could extend further than Feb.3.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530-344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @WSchultzMtDemo

Wendy Schultz

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