They grumbled about it for a while, but members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors eventually voted unanimously to approve the Capital Improvement Plan submitted by the county’s Department of Transportation. DOT first brought its draft proposal to the board May 8 for review and consideration. At that time, supervisors basically accepted the department’s recommendations and directed staff to bring it back in June for final approval.
Maintenance work on four bridges is included in the plan, however no work has been done to date. The DOT schedules calls for maintenance to occur over the next four to five years. Those bridges are on Mt. Aukum Road at the North Fork, Cosumnes River; Ice House Road at the Jones Fork of Silver Creek; Bayne Road at Dutch Creek and Cosumnes Mine Road also on the river’s North Fork.
The major project on the 10-point list is Phase 1A of the Diamond Springs Parkway which is proposed to connect Highway 49 with Missouri Flat Road. Design work on the parkway is approximately 60 percent complete and environmental documents have been filed and approved. Realignment of the highway and construction are slated to begin by 2013-14, according to the CIP proposal. This phase of the project is estimated to cost $5.9 million.
Installing a traffic signal at Patterson Drive on Pleasant Valley Road just south of Diamond Springs represents the next most costly of the 10 projects, according to DOT. The proposal is approved for $3.1 million, of which $1.6 million will be in the form of outside grant money. A bit more than half has been collected by the county in Traffic Impact Mitigation Fees.
Environmental documentation has already been approved by the county and CalTrans, and the project design is 80 percent complete. The upcoming work will finish the design, acquire remaining right of way and begin construction. Some of that work will be done in 2012, and the rest is set for next year.
Interim DOT director Kim Kerr told the board at its June 19 meeting that the entire work plan as approved is funded for this year. She also noted that TIM Fees could be altered in the future on new projects, and Ron Briggs suggested that those fees could be lowered “if we scrap the the big interchanges and the larger dormant projects.”
He was referring to plans for enlarging highway interchanges at Shingle Springs, Bass Road and Cameron Park and other related projects.
Supervisor John Knight pointed out that future upgrading of Cameron Park interchange is probably not realistic, because “there aren’t enough empty lots in Cameron Park to warrant the TIM fees” necessary for major construction.
Supervisor Jack Sweeney also took issue with some DOT projections that contemplate widening Pleasant Valley Road and Green Valley Road.
“Pleasant Valley Road is never going to be four-lanes,” Sweeney said. Likewise he expressed “great consternation” at the notion that one day Green Valley Road would be a four-lane thoroughfare.
“People don’t want four lanes on Green Valley — so they can go 75 miles an hour. It’s not an alternate Highway 50. We need to keep it rural,” Sweeney insisted.
Pattie Chelseth of Shingle Springs and Melody Lane of Coloma took issue with the board over several aspects of the overall plan and process. Chelseth pointed out that grant funding represents someone’s tax dollar, perhaps people in Alabama, for example and that regardless of its source, such funding “is coming from other people’s pockets.”
Lane, on the other hand, narrowed the concern to the American River Corridor through Coloma and Lotus and more particularly to Mt. Murphy Road and its bridge over the American River’s South Fork. She said the larger issues have generated too many meetings and left people unable to “connect the dots.” She called for more “transparency and accountability,” and she also said county staff have failed to “provide her with answers to many questions.”
Supervisor Ray Nutting followed Lane’s comments and suggested that “we need to change the tax structure,” while Chelseth concluded by asking the board, “Where do we become complicit in this bad system?”
At that point, supervisors voted 5-0 to approve the 2012 Capital Improvement Plan.