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SMART explains its rail construction plan


The rail line from Santa Rosa to Petaluma will be a construction zone the next several months as the track is rehabilitated for commute trains.

Dust and noise will be inevitable, but it will be short-lived, Keith Tarkalson, project supervisor for the construction firm Stacy and Witbeck said Tuesday night in Santa Rosa at a public meeting.

“We will be in your backyard,” he said. “You might see us for a month or a month and a half and we will be gone. We will be moving in linear fashion.”

The firm is the major contractor for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District on the $103 million project to bring 38.5 miles of rail line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael up to standards for trains running up to 79 mph.

About two dozen people who live along the line from Railroad Square to Todd Road in Santa Rosa attended the informational meeting. That stretch of track is the first phase of the work.

Some of the concern from residents was about the construction itself, but as much is was about the noise when the trains start running in late 2015 or early 2016.

“We’ve been told this has been coming for some time,” said Jeanelle Payne, whose back yard is adjacent to the tracks in Roseland. “The noise level is a concern, getting sleep. And the bike path, people next to your fence line.”

Rich Zappa, who also lives near the tracks, is a supporter and unconcerned.

“I want freight. I want passenger trains,” Zappa said. “I was in construction 42 years. I know dust and noise.”

The work will include rebuilding the rail bed, laying concrete ties, installing rail in lengths three-tenths of a mile long, putting on more ballast and aligning the track.

The work will be done with tractors and graders, trucks and from the back of a train designed especially for the work.

Construction will start April 27 near Third Street in Santa Rosa and work south through Rohnert Park, Cotati to Petaluma.

Tarkalson said the work will be done from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. four or five days a week. Residents will be notified if there work hours need to be extended.

Alameda-based Stacey and Witbeck Inc. and Missouri-based Herzog Contracting Corp. have the contract for work from Santa Rosa to the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. A separate contract will be let within the next few months for work from the Civic Center to downtown San Rafael.

8 Responses to “SMART explains its rail construction plan”

  1. Jim Bailey says:

    Amazing there is no discussion about the incredibly high amounts of arsenic laid down whereever there were old railroad tracks. See any weeds between the rails? Are you as excited about the poisoning? Burning lungs, hormonal disruptions, acne, lung damage, nausea, tiredness, nerve ganglions, diabetes, skin problems, cataracts. Where are all the environmentalists when we need them.

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  2. John Parnell says:

    @ John Reed – The SMART jobs you boast of are as phony as the fake name you cowardly hide behind. You seem a bit confused in your comprehension of the electoral process – voters did NOT reject our attempts to let them ratify the project…we just didn’t do a good enough job getting signatures. Thus, they didn’t get that chance.

    The SMART propaganda you regurgitate of “thousands of jobs” is a flat-out lie. Fess up.

    I ask both you & SMART: WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

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  3. John Reed says:

    The overwhelming super-majority of North Bay residents who voted for the SMART train, and then clearly rejected an attempt to kill the project, are glad to see the work goiong forward. The local jobs created is an additional benefit to the heavy construction sector, which has been hard hit by the Wall Street recession. Understand this: there are only a few firms that have the specialized expertise to do some highly skilled construction work. They will bring in a core group of specialists, but many of the less skilled tasks are done by local workers. Anyway, this noise by the opponents will continue long after the rail line is built and running. Construction noise beats white noise, any day.

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  4. Grapevines says:

    Nothing about SMART is smart. I really want to hear Supervisor Valerie Brown explain to me why the sup’s agreed to pay Farhad Mansourian a salary of $346,000.00 a year to run a 70 mile railway. Especially seeing as the President of the United States only draws a salary of $400,000.00 a year.

    Valerie must have had some real political debts to pay off with pulling this off.

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  5. Money Grubber says:

    I have to admit I chuckled and smiled at a photo of yesterday which showed a SMART train employee walking the tracks… weeds 3 feet high all around… with his orange “safety vest” to ensure that any approaching trains would see him clearly.


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  6. Up From The Street says:

    It’s sure great to read the unsmart board is using local construction firms and the 900 people to build this little train to the stars as promised.

    Nothing about this toy train going nowhere has been as advertised and that proud record continues to this day.

    The voters who voted for this welfare project have been bamboozled from the opening act. But the show must go on and on it goes spending hundreds of millions.

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  7. Wilson says:

    Ummm didn’t the North Coast Rail Authority just spend $3 million to fix these tracks? And the contractor on the job, Stacy and Witbeck, is based in Alameda. No local jobs here folks. Little of the money paid to them will stay here in Sonoma County.

    If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

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  8. Graeme Wellington says:

    I have a plan to mob my floor. First, I will fill the rinse bucket with clean water. Second, I will add a capful of spic and span to the water and agitate it with a clean mop. Then I will mop my floor with the mop. I will discard the soapy water and refresh the bucket with clean water and again mop over my floor to clear out and rinse the soapy residue. I will then let it dry.

    This is the level of planning we get? How much are those bureaucrats being paind for this expertise?

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