Council to receive study on Deerfield connector
Truckee Town Council will hear a presentation on the Deerfield Drive-Coldstream Road connector during its meeting tonight at town hall.
“The desirability of creating a road connecting Deerfield Drive to Coldstream Road has been actively discussed for about 10 years,” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook wrote in his report to council. “The Truckee General Plan established policies seeking an immediate determination of the plans for this connector.”
Lashbrook said the Nevada County also conducted a study on the connector road in 1993. That study, unlike the one just completed, recommended construction of the connector road. The county study also had a much lower cost estimate, unlike the current one, which pegs the cost at $5-6 million.
“In the General Plan we committed to take another look at this issue,” Lashbrook said. “I guess it’s a good thing we did.”
He said the county study also did not consider different ways to reduce traffic on Donner Pass Road, including the relocation of the Agricultural Station on Interstate 80 and the construction of a third access to Tahoe Donner. Lashbrook said the state budget this year actually included funds for land acquisition and preliminary design of a relocated agricultural station.
He said the current recommendation is to keep the right of way the town has on Deerfield, and not plan any other project there.
Deerfield Drive formerly connected to Coldstream Road, but is now a cul de sac as a result of flooding which washed away a bridge and its supporting fill in 1984.
The firm of Leigh, Scott and Cleary prepared the connector study under contract with the Nevada County Transportation Commission, at the request of the Town of Truckee.
Three alternatives were studied for the connector, including a no-build alternative, a Deerfield Extension and a Deerfield Bypass.
The Deerfield Extension would be a direct connection of Deerfield Drive on the alignment which existed prior to 1984. The extension would connect the residential neighborhood to the east of Cold Stream with the commercial parcels west of Cold Stream.
The Deerfield Bypass would connect Cold Stream Road with Deerfield Drive immediately to the west of the Crossroads Plaza. It would pass to the south of the existing residential neighborhood.
According to the study, then benefits of the Deerfield Extension and the Deerfield Bypass are similar, and both will reduce traffic on Donner Pass Road by about 5 to 6 percent – not enough to reduce the need for widening Donner Pass Road.
The study says the benefits of a Deerfield connection are smaller than those of a third Tahoe Donner connection or relocation of the Agricultural Inspection Station and recommends any Deerfield Drive project have a lower priority than those two projects.
The study outlines the benefits and impacts of the roads, which are briefly detailed below.
The additional road would facilitate traffic flow in times where other roadways have the potential to be clogged (particularly when chain control is in effect for Interstate 80 and Donner Summit).
The Deerfield extension would directly serve the highway commercial area outside to the Planned Community 1 property adjacent to the Alpine Motel.
The Deerfield Bypass would directly serve the Teichert PC-1 planned development.
Either roadway could potentially divert traffic from Donner Pass Road and from Interstate 80. Most of the diversion, however, would be from Interstate 80.
The roadway would have a limited traffic carrying benefit – around 130 to 170 vehicle trips per hour (or roughly 10 percent of current volumes on Donner Pass Road).
The Deerfield Extension would have a negative impact on pedestrian and bicycle safety in the existing neighborhood.
There would be increased traffic noise and a corresponding impact on the quality of life, particularly with the Deerfield Extension.
The traffic benefit of either the Deerfield Extension or the Deerfield Bypass is substantially less than that of building the third Tahoe Donner Connection, and is less than that of relocating the Agricultural Inspection Station.
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Motorists on Interstate 80 should expect delays today as the California Department of Transportation continues work on the $2.5 million Farad rockfall project.