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Caltrans, residents hope highway realignment will save lives

By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
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Deadline to  comment Jan. 31

Comments on a California Environmental Quality Act Initial Study with proposed mitigated negative declaration prepared for the Highway 193 realignment will be accepted by Caltrans until Jan. 31, 2013. Email comments to Caltrans environmental coordinator

or mail to 2379 Gateway Oaks Drive,

Ste. 150
, Sacramento, CA, 95833. To view the study, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist3/departments/envinternet/pla193/4E860-Draft-IS-12132012-with-maps.pdf.

Caltrans officials and residents hope a proposed project to widen a 1.1 mile stretch of Highway 193 about 4 miles east of Lincoln will save lives.

“There have been a lot of accidents and deaths in the area,” said Jean Labadie, who has owned 100 acres of property on Highway 193 between Oakview and Mandarin Hill roads for the past 20 years. “It’s time to straighten this out.”

Along the 1.1 mile segment, a total of 34 crashes took place from April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2007, including three collisions involving fatalities, according to Caltrans’ State Route 193 Curve Improvement Study. Seven collisions involved solo motorcycles, including the three collisions with fatalities. In 32 of 34 accidents, vehicles were run off the road.

The statistics were gathered as part of the environmental study. The data collected during that time was used by Caltrans to demonstrate the need for the improvements.

“This project was solely generated because of accidents,” said Mike Hagen, Caltrans traffic safety branch chief. 

Caltrans is proposing to realign the highway and add shoulders on Highway 193 from about 500 feet west of Clark Tunnel Road to 500 feet east of Mandarin Hill Road. The project cost is $17 million. Work is scheduled to start in June 2015 and expected to be completed in October 2017.

Labadie is one of 25 residents who attended a Jan. 10 open house hosted by Caltrans at McBean Pavilion in Lincoln to voice opinions on the proposed project. Two maps representing the existing roadway and the proposed adjustments were erected. Caltrans officials answered questions.

Labadie said she attended “just to see what the plans are and how they will affect my driveway.” She said access “looks OK” for her but “with all the trucks going back and forth, I imagine there will be some disruption.”

Looking at one of the maps, Peggy Stock, who has lived along the highway for 15 years, said to Caltrans project designer Thomas Langley, “A big slice of our property will be taken. I wonder how much more over that line.”

Langley said there are no fixed rules.

“We don’t want to zigzag,” Langley said. “It will be about 10 to 15 feet away from fencing.”

Trees will be cut and utility lines will be relocated, according to Langley. He estimated that construction will take five months or 100 to 120 working days. He said Caltrans will keep the two-lane configuration and attempt to flatten curves on the windy road.

The highway’s new alignment will have two 12-foot lanes and full 8-foot shoulders.

“We want to work as fast as possible according to law and policy to get this in place,” Caltrans Project Manager John Holder said. “There are some places where there are no shoulders. Bicycles have no place to go. The shoulders will provide a place where bicycles can go and cars can go around.”

Rae Bonsack said a quarter acre of her 5-acre property fronts Highway 193 at Hidden Acres Lane.

“I’ve seen quite a few cars flip over near my property and had to go for the fire department for help,” Bonsack said. “It’s quite an ordeal.”

Bonsack attended the meeting because she was unsure “after looking at a map online where the project ended.”

She wanted to determine how much land would be taken and if a barn or shelter could be built on her property in the future. Bonsack was also concerned about access to Highway 193.

Another resident asked how much time the road would be closed.

Langley said he “is hoping there will be extended one-way traffic control for a week or two.”

“We’ll shift traffic back and forth,” Langley said. “We could close the road and set up a local detour but we don’t want to do that.”