Big bucks for Highway 99
The California Transportation Commission approved more than $92 million Thursday for two projects on Highway 99 in south Sutter County.
The commission OK'd $73.5 million to expand the two-lane Feather River bridge to four lanes and $19.1 million to replace a signal intersection at Riego Road with an interchange.
The funds would just cover the bond portion for both projects. Together, the total cost will exceed $118 million.
“I'm very pleased with the approval of these projects and what it means for Sutter and Butte counties,” Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, said in a statement. “We've been fighting for the Feather River bridge improvements for quite some time, and this will help alleviate a number of traffic concerns in Northern California.”
Construction on the half-mile-long Feather River bridge is scheduled to start in August 2009. The Riego Road project is set for August 2011.
“Highway 99 is the Central Valley's transportation backbone,” said Caltrans Director Wil Kempton. “The economic vitality and quality of life of the valley are high priorities for the governor. Caltrans is going to deliver these projects quickly and turn promises into reality.”
The commission also approved $19.1 million for an interchange on Highway 99 at Elverta Road in Sacramento County. The $42 million project is set for April 2011.
The projects are part of a larger effort to expand Highway 99 from a two-lane road to a four-lane road from the Sacramento County line to the Butte County line.
The funds for the new projects will come from Proposition 1B, a transportation bond measure approved by voters in November.
Parts of the five-phase expansion project have already been completed. The project started with an expansion from Central to Sacramento avenues.
Crews are currently expanding the highway from two to four lanes from the 99/70 split north to the Feather River bridge. A several-mile stretch north of the bridge remains to be expanded.
Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol hope the project will ease congestion on the highway and will reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that have occurred on the roadway.
The highway earned the nickname “Blood Alley” because of the high number of collisions and injuries on the roadway.
Between January 1994 and December 1998, 31 deaths and 457 injuries occurred in 422 collisions, Caltrans District 3 Director Jody Jones said previously.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Witter can be reached at 749-4712. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.