Placer County held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, March 25 to celebrate the start of construction on an interchange that will eliminate Highway 65’s last intersection with traffic signals between Interstate 80 and Lincoln.
The interchange is being constructed at the intersection of Highway 65 and Sunset Boulevard. It is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2010.
‘This is going to be a huge improvement to South Placer,’ Robert Weygandt of the Placer County Board of Supervisors told more than 100 people who gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony.
‘Think for a moment what a difference the interchange will make,’ said board Chairman F.C. ‘Rocky’ Rockholm. ‘It will reduce traffic congestion significantly, and help make the highway safer.’
Other benefits include:
Helping ensure areas west of the highway continue to have a reliable water supply by relocating a Placer County Water Agency waterline that runs under the highway and replacing it with a new waterline;
· Creating more than 60 construction jobs;
· Improving traffic circulation for businesses in the surrounding area; and
· Giving the area’s economic development efforts a boost.
The last benefit is particularly important to Placer County because the Highway 65-Sunset intersection is an important gateway to the county’s Sunset Industrial Area.
The Sunset Industrial Area is a business center created by Placer County to generate primary-wage-earner jobs and help fund county services. It covers nearly 8,000 acres along the Highway 65 corridor between the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln.
‘This will be a huge incentive for this area to develop even more quickly,’ Supervisor Weygandt said of the interchange.
Jody Jones, District 3 director of the California Department of Transportation, spoke during the ceremony, saying that her agency considers the project a shining example of cooperation among agencies. Rocklin City Councilman Peter Hill and Roseville Councilman John Allard also emphasized the spirit of cooperation in their comments.
”It has been a joint effort,’ Councilman Allard said.
Councilman Hill said the interchange will be a key entryway to the city of Rocklin.
‘This is an important regional project,’ added Placer County Executive Officer Thomas M. Miller, the event’s master of ceremonies.
The project will include a six-lane overpass to take Sunset over the highway and will allow for Highway 65 to eventually be widened to eight lanes with auxiliary lanes.
The interchange will have a partial-cloverleaf design with a circular onramp to move westbound Sunset traffic to the highway’s southbound lanes and a circular onramp for eastbound motorists on Sunset who want to head north on the highway.
The Placer County Public Works Department is sponsoring and implementing the project. The county’s construction contractor is RGW Construction.
The total cost of the interchange is projected to be approximately $25 million. The total includes construction, right-of-way, design, construction-management and other costs.
Placer County, Rocklin and Roseville are contributing funding through the Highway 65 Joint Powers Authority, an agency they created to help finance four interchanges along Highway 65.
Funding for the JPA comes from traffic-mitigation fees paid by new developments. The interchanges at Stanford Ranch Road-Galleria Boulevard, Pleasant Grove Boulevard and Blue Oaks Boulevard have already been built.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, several speakers thanked the United Auburn Indian Community for helping fund the Sunset Interchange. It contributed approximately $4.7 million to the project.