Highway 65 project on schedule

Bypass to open spring 2012
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Motorists will be zooming down the Highway 65 Bypass by next spring. That’s according to Rochelle Jenkins, public information officer for Caltrans. The bypass is scheduled to open spring, 2012, according to Jenkins, “on time.” The News Messenger received a tip that the bypass was to be completed this year but Jenkins said that is not true. “We had one year when we got to work later (into the winter) and people started to rumble that maybe (we’ll) get done early,” Jenkins said. “We are on time, on schedule and absolutely where we want to be.” The bypass is being constructed in two phases, according to Placer County Transportation Planning Agency’s executive director Celia McAdam, who said funding for the first phase totaled $291 million. Funding for phase two is being sought. “We are awaiting an announcement from the California Transportation Commission on a reallocation of construction savings from proposition 1B’s Corridor Mobility Improvement Account,” McAdam said. “If we are successful, the phase two project will start construction in 2012.” Phase one is construction of the bypass from Industrial Avenue to Sheridan, with four lanes of the freeway up until Nelson Lane, where it condenses to two lanes until the bypass reaches Sheridan, McAdam said. Phase two would add two additional lanes from Nelson Lane to Wise Road, according to McAdam. The News Messenger toured the 11.7 mile bypass on Tuesday with Carl Berexa, senior resident and engineer for Caltrans. The tour started at the south end of the bypass, which is just south of Sterling Parkway on Highway 65. Berexa said three-quarters of the bypass is paved with the first lift or layer of asphalt, and when complete, will have four lifts. This summer, work on the overpass at the beginning of the bypass will result in a detour, according to Berexa. Southbound Highway 65 traffic will travel up the overpass, then down onto the new section of Industrial Boulevard, where it will then reconnect with Highway 65 at Sterling Parkway. One month after the southbound traffic is diverted, the same will happen with the northbound traffic, according to Berexa. This is being done so that construction of the northbound lane on the overpass can be completed, as well as the ramp for getting onto Highway 65, according to Berexa. Berexa also said the bypass will have 17 bridges and six sound walls. The sound walls are still under construction, according to Berexa, and finishing touches are being put on the bridges, such as chain link fences and lighting. The bypass is four lanes wide until it reaches Nelson Lane, which is where Berexa said it becomes a “two-lane expressway.” “It has intersections but no other access except for those intersections,” Berexa said. “Wise Road and Riosa Road is where the bypass connects and are all signaled intersections.” Riosa Road is the access point for Sheridan residents to get on the bypass, according to Berexa. Up the road from Nelson Lane is the Nicolaus Road bridge, which Berexa said will open this summer and take drivers over the bypass. The remaining 16 bridges cross streams, such as Markham Ravine, North Yankee Slough and South Ingram Slough, according to Berexa. Berexa said construction of the bypass has gone according to schedule. “We haven’t run into anything that has slowed us down,” he said.