While the sewer work that snarled Bridge Street traffic over the past few weeks is completed, it was only a precursor to the roadway improvement project that is slated to begin sometime around mid-summer of 2019, and wrap up in the spring of 2020.
Sewer isn’t the only utility that will need to be moved before the road construction can start, however, and motorists should expect more work on the arterial roadway beginning in July. Just how that will impact traffic remains to be seen.
According to Colusa City Manager Jesse Cain, the next stage in the project comes on May 16, when the project will go before the California Transportation Commission board for approval of funding, after which the city will go out to bid for the project.
After the funding is approved, PG&E will begin work to replace their gas lines on Bridge Street, which Cain said he expected to happen sometime in July of this year. They will also be replacing and moving their overhead power lines.
“They’re going to be digging a trench right down the middle of Bridge Street (for the gas lines),” said Cain. “They haven’t submitted their traffic plan yet, but from what I understand, they plan to keep traffic flowing – whether they split the lanes and close traffic off, or do some kind of intermittent traffic control.”
Based on his conversations with PG&E to date, Cain said that the company’s work will run from July through October.
“I’m assuming they’re going to do it in stages, but I don’t know until I actually get their plan,” Cain said. “They should be coming out with that in the next two to three weeks.”
Cain added that the city would also have to replace its water lines on Bridge Street.
“I’m not 100 percent sure that we can do it concurrent with the gas line replacement or not, until I actually see (PG&E’s) plans,” Cain said. “We’ll either be in there concurrently, or follow right after them.”
Colusa resident Ken Flagor, who serves on the city’s planning commission, said that the recent work on the city’s sewer lines on Bridge Street had created a potential problem as motorists – trying to avoid delays – moved onto the city’s side streets. Flagor said he had observed vehicles speeding and running stop signs near his home.
Cain said that no detours were currently planned for the upcoming work on Bridge Street in July, while Colusa Police Chief Josh Fitch said that the city would be able to weigh its options – including a detour or increased enforcement on side streets – after PG&E’s plans are submitted, provided any such action was warranted.
“There’s definitely a possibility,” Fitch said. “I’m hoping that when they do the underground, they can work north and south and they can keep one lane of traffic open, as opposed to working across the road east and west.”
The goal, Cain said, is to have all of the utilities replaced and moved by spring of 2019, before CalTrans begins their work on repaving Highway 20/Bridge Street.
“CalTrans is hoping to be in and working on the south part of the project – from Butte Vista Street to Sioc Street – to completion by mid-Summer 2019. The balance of the project would be done in Spring of 2020,” Cain said.
Cain said that CalTrans had reassured him “over and over again” that they would be able to keep both lanes of traffic open during the actual roadway rehabilitation project.
Another impact from the Bridge Street rehabilitation project will be the loss of all trees in the city’s right of way, Cain said.
“Whoever is in there first is going to have to deal with the trees, which will more than likely be PG&E,” said Cain. “Whatever trees don’t need to be removed for PG&E will be dealt with by CalTrans.”
Cain said that CalTrans plans on replacing on all of them with trees that are on the city’s approved list. ■