Slight road bumps don’t hamper Dorsey Interchange project |

Slight road bumps don’t hamper Dorsey Interchange project

John Hart | The Union

Traffic impacts

Dorsey Drive, between Spree Avenue and Pampas Drive, will be subject to traffic control for bridge work on June 3.

The Traffic Control System will utilize one way traffic control intermittently between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting.

The City of Grass Valley noted that every effort will be made to accommodate motorists in a timely manner, however delays of up to five minutes may be possible. The city asks that drivers have patience and observe all construction signs and the instructions of onsite personnel. The city also apologized for any inconvenience the traffic impacts may cause.

Three weeks into construction of a new Highway 49 interchange at Dorsey Drive, and the $25 million project is beginning to show signs of things to come. For drivers heading north to Brunswick Road or Nevada City and those southbound to downtown Grass Valley and beyond, the sight of toppled trees, where highway exits and entrances will soon be, makes what is coming apparent.

Construction began May 6 on the nearly $25 million project that consists of an additional lane on Dorsey Drive from Catherine Lane to Pampas Drive, realignment of Joerschke Drive and the erection of sound walls and improvements on Dorsey from East Main Street to Pampas Drive.

“They are moving along on schedule so far,” said Senior Civil Engineer Trisha Tillotson at a Tuesday meeting of the Grass Valley City Council.

During an update on the project, Tillotson noted — while knocking on wood — that no large rock formations had yet hampered the city’s largest capital project, which took a quarter of century to garner funding for and is expected to take two years to complete.

Just Tuesday, the city was informed by the California Department of Finance that $4.5 million in bond proceeds were released for the project, said City Manger Dan Holler.

“The bottom line is the bond proceeds are good to go,” Holler said.

The positive funding news was delivered as something of a silver lining to a report that the state recently forced Grass Valley to cough up $700,000 in tax increment funds originally poised for the Dorsey project. Tillotson said the city will dip into gas tax fund revenues to compensate for the loss, which Holler said will have an effect on the project’s contingency fund but not its base contract.

“There will be very little, if any, gas tax funds available,” Tillotson said.

Advocates argue the interchange will provide easier access to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, the Grass Valley campus of Sierra College and local businesses and homes located around Dorsey Drive, though one such business has already expressed concerns about the project.

Spring Hill Pharmacy, a nearly 50-year business located little more than a block northwest of the new interchange, stands to have its parking restricted, said owner David DeMartini.

“We want him to be totally successful,” said Councilwoman Jan Arbuckle. “We don’t want this to hurt his business at all.”

Because of the contractual obligations associated with the state and federally funded project, Tillotson said the city is not able to formally provide Spring Hill Pharmacy usage rights within the city’s right-of-way but wanted to acknowledge the city’s commitment to address the issue.

“This is our way of giving our word to DeMartini,” said Councilman Jason Fouyer

Bag ban

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, students from Nevada Union High School and Yuba River and Grass Valley charter schools, along with their supporters, packed the council chambers to implore the city to adopt a ban on single-use plastic bags, the kind with handles used at the checkout counters of most grocery stores.

Already more than 50 ordinances have banned single-use plastic bags, covering more than 70 jurisdictions statewide. Truckee is also considering an ordinance that would ban all plastic checkout bags, but the town’s council is still considering the specifics.

Bag ban proponents approached Nevada City about an ordinance on May 8, where they were told to push for a unified countywide ban that would impact businesses evenly.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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