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Rood highway designation passes with state budget

Bill Schultz remembers Eric Rood, the three-term Nevada County Supervisor from Penn Valley, as a politician who made time for his constituents and spent his time helping them.

Schultz, also a former District 4 county supervisor from Penn Valley, is attempting to raise funds to post signs along Highway 20 from Grass Valley to Penn Valley.

The stretch of road is now known as the “Eric Rood Memorial Expressway,” in honor of the late supervisor’s hand in building the crucial highway stretching west from Grass Valley. Signage for the highway is expected to cost more than $4,100, according to California Department of Transportation.



Before the highway was finished in the mid-1980s, the Rough and Ready Highway was the major vein to the western end of Nevada County, funneling all traffic into and out of downtown Grass Valley.

While state legislators approved the name change along with the budget last week, they could not pay for signs to indicate the highway’s new name, and representatives told Schultz funding must come from private sources.




He is planning fundraisers, including possibly a community barbecue in Penn Valley, to pay for the new signs, Schultz said.

“I’ve thought Eric was one of the better supervisors we ever had,” said Schultz, who followed Rood into the District 4 seat in 1986. “Could you imagine if all that traffic was coming into town from the Rough and Ready Highway? It allowed for the development of Penn Valley and allowed those people to get into town a lot quicker.”

The county’s government building in Nevada City – the Eric W. Rood Administrative Center, commonly known as the Rood Center – was named after the respected supervisor who served from 1975 to 1986 and died in 1998.

Rood was a retired Air Force pilot who was shot down over Europe during World War II.

After retiring, he represented District 4, covering Penn Valley and the San Juan Ridge, and served on numerous area and county boards, including the Regional Council of Rural Counties, through which he secured the funding for the Highway 20 expressway.

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


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