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Proposed exit closure raises concerns

Caltrans recommending shutdown of I-80 ramp to Taylor Road/Pacific Street
By: Jon Brines Gold Country News Service
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City and county officials are considering a recommendation from Caltrans to eliminate the Taylor Road/Pacific Street Interstate 80 off-ramp in Roseville but area business leaders promise to fight it. The proposed alternative is spelled out in a recently finalized project initiation study to improve the I-80/Highway 65 interchange. According to the Caltrans study, the $280 million dollar project would also widen the East Roseville Viaduct to add high occupancy vehicle lanes and a three-lane flyover connector between I-80 and Highway 65. “One of the (alternatives) proposes eliminating the Taylor Road off-ramp only because we need the room to make a new merge from 65 to 80 to make that a full speed interchange,” Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger said. Dinger said elimination of the Taylor Road exit would cost $20 million and allow more merging room for traffic around the I-80/Highway 65 Interchange. “We have not received any funding or anything like that to proceed,” said Dinger. “It is basically an idea and we’ve made a preliminary study report on it. It could take years.” The length of the project does not comfort businesses along Taylor Road that depend on freeway access and the hundreds of thousands cars that reportedly pass by on daily basis. Roseville Yamaha General Manager Sean Copelan said it’s not the ideal exit but something is better than nothing at all. “Any Sacramento and west traffic that wants to get to our dealership is fairly easy right now, so closing it would be catastrophic to us,” he said. The recession has been tough on motorcycle dealers like Yamaha. Last month, Rocklin Harley Davidson closed its dealership on Granite Drive. “The timing couldn’t be worse,” Copelan said. “We’re coming out of the recession and for the first time in 24 months our sales are up. For us something like this the last thing we want, to lose that momentum going into the next two years.” One of the reasons Cheryl Tarantino opened her Meineke Car Care Center on Taylor Road seven years ago was the freeway access. “People are stopped here all the time for things that happen on the freeway,” said Tarantino. “It will cripple our business and a lot of others.” Cattlemens Restaurants President Wayne Holloway said he wants to keep the Caltrans idea from materializing. “We would definitely and vehemently be opposed to any further access restrictions to our property and the other area businesses,” said Holloway. The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency has the opportunity to pick an alternative. The agency is expected to plan and secure the financing for the project and could begin that process as early as next month’s meeting. PCTPA board member and Auburn City Councilman Keith Nesbitt said he will wait to hear from the public but understands the Taylor Road closure is not a good idea. “My feelings at this point, I don’t like the option,” Nesbitt said. “There are businesses that rely on that and it is so congested I hate to take any outlets.” Fellow PCTPA board member and Rocklin City Council member Kathy Lund agrees and said the Rocklin city council is expected to draft a letter of protest later this month. “What I want to do is just make sure that road doesn’t get closed,” Lund said. Citizens who want to voice their concerns about the proposal have an opportunity to speak to PCTPA board members when they are expected to bring up the project at the Feb. 24 meeting. The PCTPA board will meet at 9 a.m. in the Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers in Auburn.