Two Caltrans seismic retrofit projects are adding a little spice into getting around in Placerville. K-rail is blocking out a center lane on Highway 50 under the pedestrian overcrossing that connects Coloma Street to the downtown parking garage and detours are routing motorists around the closure of Smith Flat Road at the undercrossing.
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The retrofit at the pedestrian overcrossing on Highway 50 is replacing the slender median column and foundation. “The column is very slender and it has survived so far,” said Caltrans resident engineer Veera Nanugonda, “but it needs to be replaced in the event of an earthquake.” The overcrossing and its abutments are sound, said Nanugonda, and so only the column and foundation will be replaced. The newly beefed up column will include an aesthetic treatment, selected by Placerville City Council at the Nov. 13, 2012 meeting. The running bond brick finish of the column with matching painted capstone was chosen because it approximates the brick on the downtown parking garage, City Hall and the nearby Cary House Hotel.
The Smith Flat undercrossing retrofit includes encasing the two existing support columns and adding more steel and concrete to the lines of columns on the deck of the bridge.
Both projects are scheduled to wrap up by the last day of August, according to Nanugonda, just days before the start of Apple Hill season. While Smith Flat is currently closed to traffic, Highway 50 between Coloma and Center Street is scheduled to stay open, with occasional closures to one lane during the construction.
“The majority of the work can be done inside the K-rail,” said Nanugonda. “We have done some night work, but most of it will be done during the day. It really depends on the contractor and the type of work, whether we will need to do any more night work. When we get close to the end of August there should not be any closures.”