Roundabout to be bid soon
VALLEY OF THE MOON Water District employee Matt Fullner looks into a valve vault Wednesday so see how much water is left. Fullmer and John Ridge were pumping the water out to replace a valve that will be easier to replace when the roundabout goes in on Arnold Drive and Agua Caliente Road.
The strange markings, holes in the ground and PG&E crews that have been spotted at the intersection of Arnold Drive and Agua Caliente Road recently mean that preliminary work is progressing on the controversial roundabout at that site.
PG&E is currently relocating a natural gas regulation station just north of the intersection.
In addition, the utility will also be relocating two utility poles because of the roundabout’s footprint.
“We have some minor relocation with gas and electric lines,” said Brittany McKannay, a PG&E spokesperson. “Depending on the weather, we should be wrapped up by mid- to late-February.”
Good weather would hasten the work while rains could hamper it.
“We also share the utility poles with Comcast and AT&T, and they’ll have to reroute their lines,” McKannay said.
There won’t be any undergrounding of utilities at the roundabout, said Tom O’Kane, the interim co-director of the county’s Public Works and Transportation Department.
O’Kane said the county is getting close to having the project go out to bid.
“The bid should go out in February so that we can start construction in late spring – probably June,” O’Kane said. “The construction is somewhat dependent on the completion of the utility relocation.”
In addition to the PG&E crew, Wednesday, there was two-person crew from the Valley of the Moon Water District pumping water out of a vault in order to replace an existing valve with a smaller valve.
In September, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution for a mitigated negative declaration approving environmental documents and the $2.1 million project.
The roundabout is being funded from a combination of Proposition 1B, Measure M, and Sonoma Valley Traffic Mitigation funds. Proposition 1B was a transportation bond approved by voters statewide in 2006 while Measure M was a quarter-cent sales tax approved by county voters in 2004.
The roundabout would replace a four-way stop.
The property on the west side of the proposed roundabout belongs to Hanna Boys Center, which will realign its driveway to Agua Caliente Road as part of its $15 million capital improvement project.
According to the county resolution, the roundabout is designed to accommodate truck-turning movements by including rounded, or ‘traversable,” curbs on the edge of the center island and truck apron. Native vegetation would be included in the center island, roadside trees would be retained where feasible, and trees to be removed will be replaced with native oak trees and shrubs within the public right-of-way where space allows.
The existing road shoulder of Arnold Drive and Agua Caliente will connect to the roundabout with a new 10-foot-wide paved bike/pedestrian pathway. The new bike/pedestrian pathway is separated from the vehicular travel lanes that form the roundabout with 6-inch high curbs.
When the matter was being considered by the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission in July 2011, a number of audience members opposed the project, citing possible safety issues, concerns about truck traffic and the spoiling of a rural road with what was termed an “urban solution.” But the project also had its supporters including one who wanted another roundabout “down at Bonneau’s.”