Supes OK $450K to complete Hwy. 12 design
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors committed $450,000 to finish the design plans for the Highway 12 project.
The funds will come from money that originally would have gone to the redevelopment agency, but is now the county’s share of that revenue coming back from the state.
First District Supervisor Valerie Brown, who was attending her last meeting as a Supervisor, was happy at the outcome.
“I am very, very pleased my board has decided to support me in putting forward the $450,000 to do the planning so that we are in a great position when and if money becomes available to move forward,” Brown said.
Brown has been a longtime advocate of completing the sidewalks and streetlight improvements along Highway 12 in the Springs.
Phase 1 of the project, from Encinas Lane to Boyes Boulevard, was finished in 2010 while Phase 2, from Boyes Boulevard to Agua Caliente Road, was only months from going out to bid when the state dissolved all of the redevelopment agencies and took over much of their funds earlier this year, putting a halt to the Highway 12 project.
The design work was 65 percent complete and included undergrounding utilities and getting the necessary rights-of-way.
The additional money will make the project “shovel ready,” but it won’t happen overnight.
Tom O’Kane, the county’s co-interim director of the Public Works and Transportation Department, said it could take until July to finish the plans.
“It will take a while to get this reactivated,” he said, pointing out that it’s been 11 months since the project ground to a halt and both his engineers and Caltrans personnel have moved on to other projects.
“The timing is a little indefinite because of the unknown with Caltrans’ review, but I’m hopeful that we will have the final plans approved by the state in July, which would allow us to bid the work when the construction funding is available after that time,” he said.
O’Kane said the bulk of the unfinished work to receive the funding involves engineering.
Also included are the final project design, environmental permits, closeout of right-of-way actions and other Caltrans required elements.
He said the Caltrans permits still needed are usually good for three-to-five years. And if the permits expire, the county could probably renew them instead of reapplying for them.
The estimated cost of the project is $6.75 million. The county sold $15 million in bonds in 2008 to pay for the improvements.
The county’s Oversight Board, which was created to finish and dispose of redevelopment projects, has included the cost of the project the three times it has submitted a recognized obligation payment schedule to the state Department of Finance, and three times the state has rejected the project.
After the last rejection, the county decided to sue the state for the funds for Highway 12, along with funds for the planned Roseland shopping center in Santa Rosa, another frozen redevelopment project.
The suit has yet to be filed.