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Slow down: 20 miles per hour on bypass detour curve

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Lincoln Police officers are urging drivers to obey temporary speed limit signs on the 20 MPH curve on Highway 65, betweeen Sterling Parkway and Twelve Bridges Drive. Ten traffic accidents have occured there since the detour was opened June 1. There have been no fatalities and no major injuries as a result of those accidents, according to Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren. The temporary route diverts traffic so the northbound lane of the Highway 65 bypass overpass and the ramp for getting onto the Highway 65 Bypass can be completed, according to previous News Messenger reports. The latest accident occurred on Sept. 26 when a tractor trailer carrying groceries overturned, causing the Twelve Bridges Drive and Sterling Parkway exits to be shut down for more than five hours, according to previous News Messenger reports. No one was hurt in the single-vehicle accident. Celia McAdam, the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency’s executive director, said on Sept. 29 that the detour was built to save money. “You don’t want to construct a detour that’s going to essentially be a throw away, where you build something else and then destroy it later,” McAdam said. “It’s not a good use of the public’s money so that curve is there because those lanes are going to be the ultimate ramps to get on and off the bypass.” The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency is talking to Caltrans about “spacing the signage,” McAdam said, to make drivers aware of the curve. “The reality is, there’s big signage saying ‘slow down’ and ‘construction zone.’ There’s only so much you can advertise,” McAdam said. “People have to take heed of the signage. People need to pay attention. This is a curve and you need to slow down.” Lincoln Police Chief Paul Shelgren said drivers need to follow the 20 MPH signs on that curve. “Every accident we’ve had is a result of excessive speed,” Shelgren said. “I’m worried about any collision and there’s the potential for it to be dangerous if they (drivers) don’t heed the signs and warnings.” There is an extra penalty for speeding in a construction zone if caught, according to Lincoln Police Lt. David Ibarra. “The courts will double the fine for any driver who is cited for driving faster than the posted speed limit in the construction zone,” Ibarra said. “The signs are posted for the safety of all motorists.” Lincoln City Councilman Tom Cosgrove said the 20 MPH curve has been a concern of his since “about the day it opened.” Cosgrove has been a Placer County Transportation Planning Agency member since 1995, a year after he joined City Council. “What I’ve done is I have become a very strong and vocal advocate for the funding and building of the bypass,” Cosgrove said. The 55 MPH hour sign in place just past Twelve Bridges Boulevard on northbound Highway 65 shuold be moved further south of its current location, according to Cosgrove. “They should be able to move that sign to south of the (Twelve Bridges Drive) interchange and slow the traffic,” Cosgrove said. Cosgrove said he will discuss his suggestions for making the curve safer with McAdam. “I’ll be talking with her more about other ways, whether it be more flashing lights, a road treatment that causes more bumps that catches people’s attention,” Cosgrove said. “In the end, we can make the suggestions and recommendations that we think are appropriate. Ultimately, it’s up to Caltrans to make the decision of what to do.” Bypass construction is currently at the Ferrari Ranch interchange and the south end connection area where the current detour is south of Sterling Parkway, according to McAdam. Next year, McAdam said, construction of the bypass’ north end connection near Sheridan will start. Twenty-five percent of the bypass paving has been completed and the bypass will open on schedule by “mid-summer next year,” according to McAdam. Funding received through federal funding and the State Improvement Improvement Program to construct phase one of the bypass was $291 million, according to McAdam, and $20 million in funding from the California Transportation Commission for phase 2 was received in June. Phase two includes widening the bypass between Nelson Lane and Wise Road from two lanes to four lanes. “Phase two is going out for bid this winter so it will probably be starting construction the time that phase one is winding down,” McAdam said.