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Dorsey Drive interchange envisioned

Charlotte Painter stood in front of an aerial photograph of the Dorsey Drive pass over the Golden Center Freeway with a proposed interchange drawn in.

She put her finger on a proposed intersection where Joerschke Drive would be re-routed to Dorsey a half-block west of its present location.

“That’s my house,” Painter said. “This has been hanging over our heads for 20 years.”



Painter and her husband bought the modest ranch-style house 30 years ago, when both streets dead-ended nearby and plans for the area’s development were very different.

Now, their home is slated for demolition in the program to start construction on the interchange by 2008. They were among a few dozen people who attended an open house on the project hosted Tuesday afternoon by the California Department of Transportation at the Veterans Memorial Building in Grass Valley.




City leaders predict the Dorsey Drive interchange will solve congestion at intersections that back up at rush hour.

The entire project is expected to cost $24.4 million if built all at once, but also could be built in phases. That would cost more in the long run, but would accommodate state funding as it becomes available, Caltrans senior transportation engineer M. Saeed Chaudhary said.

The interchange would relieve congestion at Grass Valley’s two main access points to the Highway 20/49: the Idaho-Maryland Road/East Main Street intersection, at the Brunswick Road interchange and along East Main Street between those two crossroads.

An estimated 7,000 vehicles would use the Dorsey Drive interchange daily, Caltrans design engineer Ralph Topham said. It would ease traffic flowing to Sierra College, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and homes and businesses along Dorsey Drive and Sutton Way.

Caltrans projected the region’s growth through 2027, predicting Grass Valley would nearly double in population. According to traffic models, that would send 53 percent more vehicles onto Idaho-Maryland Road, or 23,000 vehicles daily.

The proposed Dorsey Drive interchange would reduce that to 20,000 vehicles. That’s still a 35 percent increase over the 2002 levels of 15,000 vehicles used in the traffic model.

At Brunswick Road, the interchange would reduce 2027 traffic from 46,000 vehicles projected without the proposed interchange to 38,000 vehicles with the new interchange.

That’s still a 15-percent increase over the 2002 level of 33,000 vehicles daily, according to the Caltrans model.

Local, state and federal officials still are working on different construction and funding options for the project.

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To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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