City of Elk Grove to Spend $20K on Proposed Interchange Study

(Courtesy of Elk Grove Citizen)
by Bryan M. Gold

Residents question timing of funding request

Editor's note: The following story is a corrected version of an article that ran Dec. 20. 

The Elk Grove City Council on Dec. 11 approved spending $20,000 on a cooperative agreement with the state Department of Transportation to study a proposed interchange at Whitelock Parkway and Highway 99.
Elk Grove officials said the interchange would not be built for at least five years.

City staff is required to prepare the environmental documents. This is a process that is planned to start next year.

The $20,000 will go toward Caltrans to provide oversight work in developing and approving the city’s project study report, city spokesperson Christine Brainerd said.

The scope of the work for the report will include studying the interchange, a bike and pedestrian crossing over Highway 99, alignment options for East and West Stockton boulevards, and widening Whitelock Parkway.

Richard Shepard, the city’s public works director, said the council’s action does not authorize construction.

“Assuming we have all of the money to build it and there are no other obstacles through the process to do the environmental document, the proper planning, and the construction, it would be a Herculean effort to be under construction in five years,” he said.

Shepard added that there is no available funding to build the interchange. He said funding will come through developer fees, so there needs to be more development in that area before any construction takes place.

Shepard said the interchange would likely be built in seven to 10 years but added that many interchanges take two decades to build.

Many residents spoke against funding a study for an interchange that won’t be built for several years. They also said nearby Elk Grove Regional Park needs to remain intact.

“This should not go forward until it’s made clear that the people of Elk Grove care about that park and don’t want that park disrupted,” resident Sarah Johnson said. “Don’t go throwing money at Caltrans until they are made really, really clear that they need to stay away from Elk Grove Park.”

Karen Lopez, an Elk Grove resident for 28 years, said the regional park’s features including a dog park, a bike park, and the historic hotel would feel the impact of a highway interchange.

“All of those things are what makes Elk Grove Elk Grove,” she said. “I think it will ruin the jewel of Elk Grove. To me you’re ruining what we already have.”

Shepard said the plan is to minimize the impact on the park. He said some of the initial designs have no effect on the park.

The city’s fiscal year 2013-18 Capital Improvement Program that council members approved earlier this year allocated $1.3 million for the study report.

Council members also approved a request for $375,000 for the city to complete the existing scope of work for the Southeast Policy Area. The 1,200 acres are located between Whitelock Parkway, Highway 99, Kammerer Road, and Bruceville Road.

The funding, which will be pulled from general fund reserves, is in addition to the $650,000 previously allocated to the project.

Other Articles by the Elk Grove Citizen

Reference Link: