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.
More than one in 10 workers in Sonoma County have seen their jobs disappear over the last four years. With unemployment in Sonoma County stuck at or near double digits, local business, labor and government leaders are eagerly awaiting to see what President Obama proposes Thursday to create more jobs across the nation. What would you like to see in the president’s economic plan?
The low bid for the latest Highway 101 widening project is more than a third less than engineers’ estimates, a recession-era trend that will save Sonoma County $56 million in anticipated costs for work from Windsor to Petaluma. The bidding environment is being closely watched by the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, which is about to seek bids on $314 million of work for an commute line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael.
Federal auditors are recommending that Sonoma County be ordered to return at least $2 million in disaster aid received after the floods of 2006, saying proper contracting procedures and other guidelines were not followed. County officials say several of the issues had been cleared by federal administrators and challenged other conclusions by auditors.