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Road construction double-take

Dave Moller
Senior Staff Writer

It wasn’t timed this way, but the mid-Grass Valley roundabout and the adjacent project to fix the weave onto and off the Golden Center Freeway are now underway.

On Thursday Hansen Bros. Enterprises crews began taking the islands out of the Idaho-Maryland Road, East Main Street intersection where the roundabout will sit. Caltrans began working earlier in the week to improve the short-stretch weave on the Golden Center Freeway that feeds vehicles onto and off the highway between East Main and Bennett Street.

“They’re two totally separate projects at the same time in the same vicinity,” said Tim Kiser, the director of public works for the city. “It’s complicated things a bit, but we’ll work it out.”

The roundabout was projected to cost $1.9 million to construct, but Hansen Bros. came in at $1.4 million with their bid. The idea to build it came after Caltrans rejected a stoplight at the busy intersection, fearing it would back up traffic leaving and entering the freeway.

The roundabout is a free-flowing alternative to signals, where drivers pull up to an intersection with concrete islands and yield signs that direct them into a constant circle of traffic going left.

There will be some plantings and mining memorabilia in the middle of the roundabout for esthetics and to stop drivers from going through the middle of it.

Crews will construct the roundabout in phases to familiarize drivers with it as construction proceeds.

There already are three roundabouts in Nevada County, one at the entrance to Sierra College in Grass Valley and two in Truckee.

Roundabout job superintendent Dwayne Glover said the adjacent weave project would not be a problem.

“They’re not in our way,” Glover said. “We’ll do the underground (utilities) stuff and by the time that’s done, they’ll be gone.”

Glover said his crew will then come back in and do the islands and roundabout, with a targeted completion in late August.

At the $365,000 weave project, “We’re providing more space for people to merge in and out of the area,” said Winder Bajwa, of the Caltrans District 3 office in Marysville. “We’re adding extra space on Highway 20 so they can merge on better from Idaho-Maryland Road.”

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

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