Five months after the state allocated $14.1 million to Grass Valley’s planned additional Highway 49 entrances and exits at Dorsey Drive, the town’s city council is scheduled to award the construction bid for the $25 million project at its meeting tonight.
“It’s always been important,” said Mayor Dan Miller. “It’s been a focus for regional transit since I was first on City Council in the 1980s.”
In addition to actually constructing the new entrances and exits, the Dorsey Drive Interchange Project consists of widening for an additional lane on Dorsey Drive from Catherine Lane to Pampas Drive, realignment of Joerschke Drive and improvements on Dorsey from East Main Street to Pampas Drive to include bicycle lanes, sidewalks and accessible bus stops, according to the staff report prepared by Tim Kiser, a city engineer.
It also calls for construction of auxiliary lanes between the proposed interchange and the adjacent highway interchanges at Idaho-Maryland and Brunswick roads.
“Those two places have always had congestion, and Dorsey is the solution,” Miller said.
Bids for the project were first solicited Nov. 20, but none of those bids has reportedly been opened prior to today, when they are scheduled to reviewed for the first time, Kiser noted in his report.
Providing the lowest bid is responsible and within the project’s budget, Kiser said staff plans to recommend awarding the contract to the lowest bidder, pending completion of a bid protest period.
On that timetable, shovels could hit the dirt as early as this spring, followed by an anticipated two-year construction period, Miller said.
As shovels ready for the project, its naming remains uncertain.
At their Jan. 7 meeting, council members directed city staff to pursue naming the interchange after slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, a Grass Valley native.
One of the arguments for the new highway interchange is faster access to that hospital, of which Stevens’ grandfather, Elmer “Chief” Stevens, was among the founders.
However, that endeavor faces hurdles. The current Dorsey Drive bridge that spans the highway but lacks entrances and exits is already named in honor Pfc. Thomas W. Cranford, who died in the Vietnam War. The bridge was named in honor of Cranford by Blue Star Moms, an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of members of the armed forces.
Instead, the city plans to pursue naming only the interchange after Stevens, leaving the bridge’s current honorary designation in honor of Cranford in place, as well as the name of Dorsey Drive itself.
Should the hurdles before naming the interchange in honor of Stevens prove insurmountable, the city may instead pursue renaming the McKnight Way bridge and intersection after Stevens.
Also at today’s meeting, the council is tasked with reviewing a proposal to pay the California Highway Patrol $80,000 to provide traffic control-related services during the two years of expected construction, according to a secondary report submitted by Kiser.
The council is expected to meet at 7 p.m. today in the council chambers at Grass Valley City Hall at 125 E. Main St.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.