The new main artery into Colusa from the southeast is nearing completion.
The $19 million highway project, designed to improve access to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, should be completed this month, Colusa officials said.
The final work on the roadway included asphalting the side streets and putting the finishing touches on the landscaping.
“It’s on track to be finished,” said Colusa City Manger Jesse Cain.
Until this year, the one-mile stretch of State Highway 20, between Butte Vista Drive and Market Street, has seen little change since it was constructed in the 1950s, although it required a great deal of maintenance over the years.
The State of California allocated $19 million to build a new road, after Caltrans determined the pavement cross slopes no longer met today’s highway standards. The drainage system also needed improvement to avoid constant maintenance, and most of the stretch of roadway lacked sidewalks for pedestrians and intersections that met the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project, which began with the environmental clearance in October of 2016, was four years in the making.
The highway project included widening the travel lanes and converting existing surface drainage into an underground system to improve drainage. The project also included the replacement of PG&E gas lines and removing the overhead power lines, replacing them with new underground power lines. The City of Colusa replaced the water lines as part of the overall project.
The state also removed the trees along Bridge Street and replanted dozens of new trees, mostly Crepe Myrtle, a few Chinese Pistachio, and other varieties.
“On the east side of Bridge Street, they planted 36 new trees,” Cain said. “On the west side, they will be planting 34.”
For water, Caltrans ran a 1-inch water line underground for drip irrigation, and the City of Colusa installed a water meter on both sides of the street.
“That is going to stay in place for three years until the trees get established,” Cain said, at the City’s Park, Recreation and Tree Commission meeting in October. “After that, we will shut the water off.”
At a special meeting on Oct. 28, the Colusa City Council approved spending $75,000 from their street impact funds to go toward the city’s share of cost with Caltrans and PG&E on the installation of 14 new street lights.
The 14 new lights represent a compromise between old and new standards. According to Caltrans, only seven street lights are actually required per their standards along a state highway, but prior to the project, Bridget Street had 21 street lights.
The total cost of the street lights is $360,000, most of which is covered by Caltrans and PG&E.
The new lights, once installed, will be similar to the new lights installed on Fremont Street, Cain said.
City officials said Caltrans has guaranteed the project and will rework the roadway, if they need to, to make sure there is not a puddling issue when it rains.
At first glance, Cain said he is concerned about a few areas.
“We will see this winter,” he said.
Although not part of the current Caltrans project, future plans on Highway 20 will include a reconfiguration of Wescott Road, where a new Taco Bell could be placed, along with another new traffic signal.
The Colusa City Council recently signed a development agreement with Yuba City developer Amarjit Cheema, who plans to construct a new commercial center that includes an Arco gas station and a coffee shop.