Discussions continue on ramp plan


Truckee’s negotiations with Caltrans to retain westward facing ramps at Highway 89 North and Interstate 80 continue – and town council will consider an agreement tonight to take the process one step further.

Town Manager Steve Wright said he will present a report to council detailing the current status of the ramp retention plan.

Truckee began talks with Caltrans in 1997 to retain on and off ramps at Highway 89 North and Interstate 80 following the construction of the Highway 267 Bypass. Caltrans initially planned to remove all ramps on Highway 89 North, and force motorists going downtown to use the new bypass ramps, located to the east of the old interchange.

After extensive negotiations with Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration, Caltrans agreed in principle to retain the two westward facing ramps – the westbound on ramp and eastbound off ramp. Now town staff is working to see that the final design is acceptable.

“We’re getting there,” Wright said. “We’re still trying to work out various details on the ramp final design and construction issues with Caltrans. We’re hopeful they will be sending us one or more agreements so they can implement the change orders necessary to do the project.”

Wright said Caltrans plans to overlay and resurface I-80 through Truckee this year,and the town can do an initial agreement with Caltrans which would allow them to widen slightly the portion of the freeway where the ramps will diverge.

“We’ll have to do another agreement next year to actually build the ramps,” he said. Wright said town staff hope to have the first of the agreements to town council by the middle of July.

However, it’s been slow going to get all of the information from Caltrans, he said.

“We finally got the information last week,” Wright said. “We are trying to analyze it and see the issues that need to be resolved. We would like to have an agreement on the agenda for this Thursday.”

He said there are some design-related issues with the current Caltrans plan, which shows a sweeping right turn off the freeway, requiring a merged lane on Highway 267 toward downtown.

“That requires additional right of way and additional cost,” Wright said. “If it was a basic T intersection, it would not require additional right of way or additional lanes. It would also take traffic off at a slower speed going toward downtown.”

He said Caltrans probably proposed the sweeping right turn lane because it would discourage left turns onto Highway 89 North. Part of the conditions of the town’s agreement with FHWA and Caltrans is that the intersection will only permit right turns toward downtown.

“We’re also dickering with them over price,” Wright said. “When you add in merged lanes and additional right of way, that incurs additional cost.”

The Highway 267 Bypass, slated for completion in 2002, will link Highway 267 northeast of Truckee to I-80, east of the existing Highway 89 and I-80 interchange.

Other business

In other business, Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook will present comments received regarding the Planned Community 2 Environmental Impact report to town council. The draft EIR for Planned Community 2, also known as Boca Sierra Estates, has been out for public review since April 13.

Council will also:

– Receive an oral report from Wright on the ongoing Donner Lake water study.

– Consider award of a contract for a town-wide slurry seal to California Pavement Management, for $239,687.70

– Consider a contract amendment for Advanced Asphalt’s work on the Donner Lake Drainage project.

– Consider procedural standards for development agreements.

– Hold its annual public hearing on parcel charges collected from Town Special Service Areas and Permanent Road Divisions.

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