The Highway 49 Gap Closure Project will close the gaps between sidewalks in the approximately 4.4-mile Highway 49 corridor between Interstate 80 and Dry Creek Road, creating a continuous sidewalk on at least one side of the highway.
This project is just one of several on-going efforts to improve Highway 49 by constructing sidewalks, bike lanes, and operational improvements.
In spring of 2017, Caltrans was scheduled to repair sections of Highway 49 within the greater Auburn area. During the planning process, Caltrans acquired additional funding to add bike lanes in both directions and sidewalks in certain segments, creating what’s known today as the “Highway 49 Rehabilitation Project.” While the additional money expanded the scope of improvements to Highway 49, sidewalk gaps would still remain in the corridor, even after the Highway 49 Rehabilitation . In 2018, Placer County constructed approximately one-half mile of sidewalks on Highway 49 in front of the Bel Air Shopping Center between New Airport Road and just north of Willow Creek Drive.
At the request of the City of Auburn and Placer County, PCTPA agreed to lead a multi-agency effort to determine where and how to fill in the remaining sidewalk gaps. The Highway 49 Sidewalk Gap Closure project will create a “shelf ready” project by completing the required environmental and design work.
Design will be completed in late 2019. Currently there is no funding to construct the project, as the Placer County Measure M transportation sales tax measure failed back in November 2016. The Measure M sales tax measure would have constructed sidewalks, incorporated traffic signal synchronization, landscaping, and operational improvements throughout the corridor. Without the passage of Measure M, there is no dedicated funding source to construct the improvements.
Without a local funding source, PCTPA will be pursuing available state and federal funding for the project construction. PCTPA’s goal is to create a project that has strong community support from residents and business owners so when funding becomes available, construction can start immediately.
The objective of the Highway 49 Gap Closure Project is to improve travel conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians along Highway 49. Currently, many residents walk and bike along the corridor (either on the road or dirt paths) as it is their only means of transportation to reach area schools, shopping, jobs, and/or bus stops.
In the last 11 years, there have been a total of 43 collisions between vehicles and bicyclists or pedestrians. There were 13 bicyclist collisions, and there were 30 pedestrian collisions with 23 injuries and seven (7) fatalities. A safe route to community destinations is critical for the overall quality of life for local residents and business in the corridor.
On Thursday, February 7, 2019, PCTPA will host a community open house to present and gather input on the Highway 49 Gap Closure Project. The open house will be in the Rock Creek Elementary School multi-purpose room, located at 3050 Bell Road in Auburn, Ca from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Aaron Hoyt, Senior Planner