Plan to realign Hwy. 174 before Supes on Tuesday

Editor’s note: I received this press release from SaveHighway 174:

If you are concerned or interested in the State Highway 174 realignment project proposed by the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans), please attend the Tuesday, October 24, 2017 meeting of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. The item will be heard at 1:30 p.m. in the Supervisor’s Chambers of the Rood Center, 950 Maidu Street, Nevada City.

The State Highway 174 realignment project encompasses a 1.9 mile section of this scenic and historic roadway from You Bet Road to Maple Way. The 2-lane roadway will be leveled, straightened and widened with the goal to improve vehicular safety. Set for construction in 2019, this $28,400,000 project will essentially double the road surface from its current 22’ to 28’ width to a minimum of 64’ to 80’ in width.

To accommodate this widening and straightening of the road, at least 1,700 conifers, oaks and smaller trees will be removed along with natural ponds, springs and domestic wells. The new right-of-way for this roadway would require the acquisition of over 14 acres of private property from 53 parcels.

During the October 24 meeting, the Board will listen to presentations from Caltrans staff on the progress of this project and from the SaveHighway 174 organization. Since this project is under the authority of the State and Caltrans, the Board can only act in an advisory capacity.

SaveHighway 174 consists of affected property owners, residents and citizens of Nevada County who support reasonable safety improvements, but are concerned with the current design standard for the widening and realignment project proposed by Caltrans.

The group is also concerned that this project would set a precedence for a new safety standard that may be applied elsewhere in the County on a similar scenic roadway. It is the position of SaveHighway 174 that other less expensive and evasive alternatives exist to improve safety on this roadway.

SaveHighway 174 is requesting that Caltrans reassess and revise this project and do so by actively engaging the local community. On September 20, 2017, the Nevada County Transportation Commission (NCTC) also considered the merits of this project and asked Caltrans to “reassess and revised the preferred alternative for the project by actively engaging in the local community.”

You can obtain more information on the project and the SaveHighway 174 organization by viewing their website at http://www.savehwy174.com. The website contains the Position Statement for this organization as well as a petition that can be signed to show support to stop the widening of Highway 174.

If you are interested in learning more about this Caltrans proposal for State Highway 174, or wish to show your support for having Caltrans re-evaluate this project, please attendmthe October 24 meeting of the Board of Supervisors at the Rood Center.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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