Bird watchers are blasting the Highway 101-Petaluma River Bridge construction project, saying contractors hung a net that is supposed to protect birds but is instead killing them.
The pace of work to widen Highway 101 through Sonoma County is picking up and shifting to Petaluma, where four major projects to rebuild overpasses and bridges will start within the next few months. It will also probably make Petaluma traffic a mess until work is completed in late 2014.
By 5:30 a.m, there are already enough cars filling southbound Highway 101 toward Petaluma to make Gus Kouninos grateful for the new third lane running over the Cotati Grade. But on his evening drive home, the Santa Rosa resident can only look at the new construction in frustration. The third lanes between Cotati and Petaluma are closed to solo drivers from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6:30 p.m. during the commute crunch.
Healdsburg loves its vintage bridge over the Russian River and wants to save it, not replace it. But convincing Caltrans officials to approve the money to rehabilitate the span is proving to be a tough sell. Frustrated by Caltrans’ reluctance to sign off on the $12 million upgrade, the City Council has decided to enlist the help of state legislators and congressional representatives.
As many as 900 trees will be cut down to accommodate the Highway 101 widening project through Petaluma. The city’s tree committee wants the City Council to urge Caltrans to replace every tree or fund a tree bank to replenish the lost trees.
A proposed $20 million bicycle bridge over Highway 101 again appears in peril after Santa Rosa council members raised new questions about the cash-strapped city’s ability to afford the soaring cost of the controversial project. One of its supporters, Councilwoman Susan Gorin, says the opposition means the project will be effectively killed or delayed for a long time.
Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking to postpone a bond sale that would fund a dozen projects, including construction of a new Highway 101 overpass in Santa Rosa to alleviate frequent commute-hour backups at Airport Boulevard. Caltrans officials, however, said they do not believe the governor’s plan will delay construction on the interchange, now scheduled to start in spring of 2012.
A fight over the future of the Watmaugh Road Bridge southwest of Sonoma is turning nasty. County transportation planners and preservationists are accusing each other of misleading people at the expense of public safety and taxpayer funds.
Caltrans no longer plans to build a bridge over Spring Lake, but it still owns a two-mile swath of open land in east Santa Rosa once envisioned for Highway 12. Now, a consortium of groups are dreaming of ways to use the property. It could become a park, a pedestrian walkway, a bikeway, some cluster housing, small family farms, a heritage orchard, a sculpture garden, or all of the above.
As typos go, forgetting the silent “e” on the end of Steele Lane isn’t the worst you can do. Most PD reporters would have to admit to worse. Still, it’s probably not something you want to flaunt in front of thousands of drivers every day. A new exit sign installed by Caltrans on Highway 101 suggests a road named for an iron alloy rather than one honoring a historic Santa Rosa family.