Seismic retrofit will bring color to Placerville

By From page A5 | November 16, 2012

Placerville will pick up another bit of color when Caltrans does a seismic retrofit of the pedestrian overcrossing (POC) of Highway 50 at Coloma Street in 2013. One component of the structure will be a three-foot square concrete center column. Placerville City Council was tasked with choosing the aesthetic treatment for the column at Tuesday’s meeting.

Five choices were offered, an astonishing thing in itself, as Caltrans rarely allows others to participate in the design of one of their projects. City staff approached Caltrans about the aesthetics of the retrofit, including upgrading the plain galvanized chain link fencing, and the cobra-style lighting. While the lighting and fencing were not eligible for the seismic retrofit of the project, the column was, and the choice had to be made quickly. Caltrans will complete the project design by December and go out to bid in March.

There is $200,000 available in Transportation Enhancement Activities funding as part of the Highway 50 Operational Improvement Project, completed in 2009. “We are going to try to get that money deobligated from that project and use it to enhance the Coloma Street Pedestrian Overcrossing,” said Mike Webb, director of Community Development and Engineering Services.

Choice 1 and 4 were esssentially the same design of brick with a running bond pattern, but choice 1 left the top piece joining the column and overcrossing a gray concrete color and choice 4 showed the top piece painted to match the column brick. Choices 2 and 3 were also brick columns, but with some vertical patterning and choice 5 was a gray stacked stone column. City staff recommended choice 1 or 4 as the styles were in keeping with the brick of the adjacent  parking structure, City Hall and the nearby Cary House Hotel.

After clarifying that using the $200,000 in TEA funds for enhancements to the POC was a separate issue, discussion about the choices ensued. “A brick column with all the rest of the POC silver and gray looks too stark, but choice Number 4 looks less stark,” said Councilwoman Patty Borelli.

Members of the public weighed in on the choices.”Choice 1 looks like a sledgehammer,” said Sue Taylor, “so painting the top would look better.” She also suggested painting the POC black to simulate iron.

Sue Rodman, a Placerville resident, suggested painting the silver of the POC a brick color and asked if the paint on choice 4 could be a stained concrete instead.

Painting the POC, adding foliage to the planter area under the POC, changing out the cobra-style light to the acorn-style lighting of the parking structure and other parts of the city, using lantern style lighting and replacing the chain link fencing with the black iron fencing currently used on the Bedford Avenue Overcrossing were enhancements discussed at the council meeting.

Choice 4 with a brick column and a brick color top piece was the unanimous choice of the Council.

Wendy Schultz

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