Nevada County supervisors want more discussion on Highway 174 project | TheUnion.com

Nevada County supervisors want more discussion on Highway 174 project

Members of the Save Highway 174 group have different opinions on a Caltrans project that would widen almost two miles of road connecting Grass Valley to Colfax.

Some are at either extreme, but most fall somewhere in the middle, wanting reasonable safety improvements but not the current road widening plan, said Joe Heckel, one of the group’s members.

“The group is very open to working with Caltrans,” he added. “We stand ready to meet with them.”

The current plan — which would realign curves and widen lanes between Maple Way and You Bet Road — led the Nevada County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to unanimously pass a resolution asking Caltrans to take another look at the project. In that resolution supervisors also emphasized the community’s concerns, saying the project could threaten the county’s chances of having it designated as a State Scenic Highway.

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“They feel that their concerns have not been listened to, have not been heard,” said Supervisor Heidi Hall, whose district includes the project area.

Liza Whitmore, public information officer with Caltrans, said in an email that the state transportation department will continue to address community concerns over impacts to the area’s scenic nature. She noted that Caltrans already has altered its design, which reduced the land needed for the project.

“Caltrans looks forward to continuing efforts to support the community’s desire for safety improvements while balancing the project’s needs with the rural and scenic nature of the highway,” she states.

Scenic road

Following an order of the board, county staff currently is researching the steps needed to gain State Scenic Highway status for Highway 174.

Staff wants to discover any positives and negatives associated with that designation before bringing the information before the Board of Supervisors, said Jeffrey Thorsby, senior administrative analyst for the supervisors.

According to Thorsby, supervisors have made no decision on seeking the scenic highway status. They’ve currently only directed staff to learn more about the process.

Supervisors have set no date to hear the update.

Gaining the designation wouldn’t necessarily prohibit Caltrans’ improvement project. Thorsby said projects have occurred on State Scenic Highways.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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