Rerouting 267 bypass could take 8 years
Realigning the Highway 267 Bypass would delay construction for a six- to eight-year period, according to Caltrans officials.
Pat Miller, Caltrans public affairs officer, said moving the route to the east, which town officials indicated they would like to have done to keep ramps open where Highways 267 and 89 North currently meet Interstate 80, would require starting the environmental, land acquisition and design processes anew.
State funded project
Currently, the $17.6 million project funded under the state’s Transportation Improvement Program is in the final design stage, she said.
“At this point in the game it would be very difficult to re-evaluate the entire project and redesign it to keep both ramps open,” Miller said, adding the final design provides access to the downtown area at the proposed interchange, as well as keeps the Highway 89 South and Central Truckee ramps open.
But in order to realign the proposed route and have it funded, Miller said the new route proposal would be subject to town, county and regional transportation committee approval, as well as Caltrans scrutiny, before going before the California Transportation Commission, which then ranks the on a priority list for funding.
“Certainly, I would say it is not a good idea to delay this project,” she said.
At the Aug. 7 regular town council meeting, Truckee councilmembers directed staff to send a letter signed by Mayor Bob Drake to Caltrans, Sen. Tim Leslie and Assemblyman Bernie Richter expressing the town’s surprise and concern over the bypass design plan.
During that meeting Town Engineer Jon Lander said he met with Caltrans representatives July 14 when two project modifications were brought to light: construction has been condensed to one phase and closure of the on and off ramps in question.
Should the current design move forward – it is funded for construction in 1999 – eastbound travelers stopping in downtown Truckee would have to cross I-80 to the north, continue to a new intersection at Highway 89 and turn south, cross I-80 again and make a left turn to an eastbound I-80 on ramp.
But Miller said in order to access the downtown area, travelers are only required to go about a half mile out of their way.
The plan to close the ramps in question has been on the table since Nevada County began looking at the bypass idea several years ago.
“This project has been Nevada County’s No. 1 priority project for at least 10 years,” Miller said.
Also, the decision not to cut the project into two phases came about after a cost analysis revealed dirt would need to be hauled away during the first phase only to be brought back during the second – a relatively large, unnecessary expense.
“It is far more cost-effective to do the project all at once,” she said.
Miller added the ramps would have only remained open during phase one had Caltrans stuck with the two-phase plan.
In the meantime, Heidi Sykes, Caltrans’ Highway 267 project engineer, will be on hand to discuss the issues with councilmembers during their regular meeting Thursday, Sept. 4, at Town Hall.
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