Road to Floriston can be an adventure
July 13, 2004
Getting to Floriston is something of an adventure – too much of an adventure lately.Floriston residents are asking Caltrans and Nevada County to repave and realign portions of the road that winds up to the 40-home community along Interstate 80 just west of the Nevada stateline. Successfully negotiating the offramp from I-80 is the first challenge to get to the small town. Caltrans changed the ramps a year ago, moving them 20 feet, said 38-year Floriston resident Dennis Jamason. That threw the alignment out of whack and raised the possibility of a serious accident at the interchange, he said.The ramp funnels cars straight toward the adjacent railroad tracks, then a swift left turn is needed to enter the one-lane corrugated steel tube that served as the first railroad undercrossing on the short road to Floriston.”There’s no determination of right of way there,” said Jamason. “You could have basically a three-car pileup. There is no stop sign or anything.
“You pretty much have to go into opposing traffic or cross the yellow line to get into the tunnel,” he saidJamason added that a car accident could easily occur once the I-80 traffic cones come down and the speed limit goes back to 65 mph.Floriston residents who met with Caltrans and Nevada County officials two weeks ago are asking the state to realign the ramps.”I think that we have the right to have a safe offramp.” said Jamason.Another problems is that the ramp project left drainage problems at the site that causes the tunnel to flood when the snow melts or rainstorms come.
“Last year it was real bad because all the water would run in there,” said Joan Alioto, a 34-year Floriston resident who runs the local post office. “We were driving through a foot and a half of water.”During the winter the water freezes and then the ice erodes unevenly, leaving huge ice potholes in the road, said Barbara Green, District 5 Nevada County supervisor .”It’s like a nightmare,” she said.Green met with county transportation officials at the site, who told her that any repaving of the road would lower clearance in the tube, barring some trucks in Floriston from making it out of town.”There is an issue with the height,” said Green. “There are some trucks in Floriston that wouldn’t be able to make it out.”
If the county repaves the road, they will first have to strip out the old asphalt to lower the street level. And while Nevada County and Caltrans have not committed to the repaving and realigning, residents say that all signs are encouraging.”I thought that it was momentous because nothing like this ever happens down here,” Ernest Alioto said of the meeting with the county and Caltrans.Jamason agreed.”We have not a very big political pull, as you can imagine,” he said.And despite the small size of their town, Floriston residents said they are glad to be able to get the attention of Green, their county supervisor. “Boy, is she up on it and she is fighting like heck for these people,” said Ernest Alioto.