City hopes for $3.5M grant for Dorsey project |

City hopes for $3.5M grant for Dorsey project

Officials say a federal grant could be the last piece of funding needed to get the long-awaited Dorsey Drive interchange project off the ground.

Grass Valley’s City Council this week cleared its staff to pursue a $3.5 million federal transportation grant to help finance the estimated $15 million to $18 million Dorsey project, which would connect the road to Highway 49.

Grant awards could be announced sometime in late September, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which administers the $600 million fund.

“Having that interchange and the ability to easily get to the east side of the freeway opens up a huge opportunity for economic development,” said Gil Mathew, CEO of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council.

The interchange would make it easier to access Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Sierra College and Nevada Union High School, proponents say.

“The hospital is a major part of our community, and as our population ages other care facilities will need to be built near there. It’s a prime economic development location,” Mathew said.

The city has about $10.5 million on hand now, said Nevada County Transportation Commission Executive Director Dan Landon.

“Given the bidding environment, another $3.5 million could get us ready to go,” Landon said. “But until we have enough money in hand, we can’t test the bidding market.”

Competition for the grant funds is stiff, Landon said.

“For the first round of (the grant), there were three or four times as many applicants as there was money to give out.”

If the grant comes through, workers could break ground on the project as early as next summer, Grass Valley Public Works Director Tim Kiser said. If not, city officials are targeting spring 2012 to start construction, Kiser said.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call (530) 477-4239.

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