Recent Caltrans policy shift could delay Kings Beach 3-lane project
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
KINGS BEACH, Calif. – A recent state policy change may have created a $3.9 millon roadblock for the Kings Beach three-lane resizing project, possibly pushing back traffic management construction a year, officials said.
A $3.9 million service agreement with Folsom-based Dokken Engineering, unanimously approved by the board of supervisors on April 6, was halted the same day by Caltrans officials who said the project failed to meet updated regulations, said Placer County Public Works Deputy Director Peter Kraatz.
The hold-up revolves around a Caltans rule that requires counties set aside funding for contract work with locally under-utilized companies in the eastern part of the county, near the Tahoe region.
“In reality it puts us into late June or July when we will get a final contract negotiated,” Kraatz said, seeing the funding hold as only a minor road bump for the project that will resize Highway 28 through downtown Kings Beach from four lanes to three, with roundabouts.
However, Kraatz said the impact of Caltrans’ decision may push construction of this year’s scheduled traffic management plan (an appendage to the three-lane project to slow neighborhood traffic around Highway 28) back to 2011.
“Caltrans is very sensitive to making sure everyone follows the process just from an auditing perspective,” Kraatz said. “We’re a little frustrated that it slows us down, and I’m sure the community wants to get the project going as well.”
Ken Grehm, director of public works, said the change in Caltrans process happened after the county submitted its design proposal earlier this year for the project.
Caltrans decided to change the process in response to a lawsuit against Washington State Department of Transportation for not including enough regional under-utilized businesses in their transportation projects.
“When they changed it, we had to change with it,” Grehm said.
The $45 million project is still estimated to follow its three construction season deadline, from 2011 to 2013, and Grehm said the county still anticipates going forward with public input meetings which will focus on the traffic management plan, phasing of the project and desired appearance project.
“The bottom line is that we have to redo the submission process,” Grehm said.
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