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Gridley Herald

Caltrans Hears Concerns

Apr 27, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Seti Long

Chris Ledeas, of Caltrans, answers questions about the Caltrans Hwy 99 project. Photo by Seti Long

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GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) – The core Caltrans team members for the upcoming State Route 99 Gridley Pavement Rehabilitation Project were on hand Tuesday, April 26th to present the project to the community and hold an informal town hall.

After a brief history of how the $25-million project has reached its current scope, Project Manager for Caltrans, Chris Ledeas broke down the project for the residents present at the meeting.

Ledeas shared that since partnering financially with both the City of Gridley and the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG), the Caltrans projects has expanded its scope to become more than just pavement overlay.

According to the fact sheet document that Caltrans provided to attendees at the meeting, the project will include the following: Rehabilitation of the existing roadway, construction of new 8 ft sidewalks with a 3 ft landscaping strip between the highway and pedestrian walkway, the removal of the existing sidewalk and construction of new 8 ft sidewalk with 3 ft landscaping along the highway from Dollar General on the south end of the project to Standish Lane on the north end of town, the installation of 5 ft sidewalk with curb and gutter from Standish Lane north to Stapleton-Spence Packing Company, the installation of a new drainage system from West Liberty Road north to Dollar General, the installation of a closed circuit television highway camera at the intersection of Highway 99 and East Gridley Road, the installation of loop detection, the replacement of existing curb ramps with ADA-compliant curb ramps, the upgrading of culverts through realignment or replacement, the installation of a new enhanced crosswalk pedestrian hybrid beacon and island between Archer Avenue and the Cherry Street crossing, the installation of 63 decorative streetlights along the eastern side of the highway and the installation of fiber optic and electrical conduit.

The majority of construction will focus on the northbound, or eastern, side of the highway, with all driveways within the project limits receiving new entrances. During the presentation, Caltrans shared that due to the current right-of-way, which happens to be off centered to the east, few easements would need to be procured for the project. Little work is planned for the southbound, or western side of the highway at this time. Caltrans expects minimal effect to traffic but may have to close sections of the northbound lanes during the construction phase.

During the Q&A session, residents brought forward concerns over the “pedestrian hybrid beacon and refuge island” to be placed between Archer Avenue and Dollar General. Residents made the Caltrans team aware that placing the pedestrian crosswalk at that location could potentially hamper the ability for large trucks and semis carrying agricultural products or equipment to make a left hand turn onto Archer from the highway. Discussion on the topic dominated much of the public Q &A portion of the town hall, with Caltrans promising to take into account the community members’ suggestion to move the pedestrian crosswalk to a different location on highway. The reason for the location currently considered is the future growth and developments set to go in south of Dollar General.

To clarify, the pedestrian hybrid crosswalk will be larger than that currently located at Cherry Street, and will be similar to regular stoplights, in the sense that it will span the width of highway, sitting above the 5 lanes of traffic and be a regulatory stop. A “refuge island” is required by Caltrans to be placed in the center lane below the single red stoplight activated by pedestrians wishing to cross.

As more questions were asked, core team members stepped up to address those in their departments, and the town hall quickly evolved into the informal style town hall that was originally expected by Caltrans. Those with questions were invited to engage in smaller group discussions, until the meeting was adjourned.

The current timeline of the project has construction set to begin in the Summer of 2024, with the goal of project completion sometime in the spring of 2026.