County on track with Hwy. 12

Sonoma County is anticipating submitting Highway 12 plans, which are 90 percent complete, to the state by the end of this month.

At the Springs Community Alliance meeting on Aug. 8, Tom O’Kane, the county’s deputy superintendent of Public Works, said he and his staff have been meeting with Caltrans monthly since February in order to get the project going again. After the project was put on hold in February2012, the Caltrans team that had been working on Highway 12 was assigned to other projects.

O’Kane said he anticipates sending the right-of-way certification to Caltrans in November; sending the project out to bid in January or February of next year, with construction estimated to begin in spring of 2014. He said the project, which involves widening Highway 12, adding sidewalks and gutters, left-turn lanes and streetlights, among other things, could be completed – depending on the weather – by April 2015.

First District Supervisor Susan Gorin put the project’s long-stalled history in perspectivewhen she reported that, while going through old Highway 12 files, she found a letter to then-Supervisor Mike Cale from 1993.

“We have the money to move forward,” Gorin said. “We hope to be at a ribbon-cutting in April 2015.”

The project is moving forward because, in May, the board of supervisors decided to fund the project with money from the state that formerly went to the redevelopment agency.

The supervisors also decided to sue the state back in January in an attempt to recover the money the state took when the redevelopment agencies dissolved in February 2012.

The county’s suit is scheduled to be heard Friday, Aug. 23, in Sacramento Superior Court.

“I’m positive about our suit against the state,” Gorin told the group. “Even if we win, it still could go to appeal. But the City of Emeryville prevailed in a similar suit.”

O’Kane said there are still some things to be ironed out – such as extending the box-culvert over Fedders Creek. “We’ve hired a structural engineer in Sacramento to get the design finalized.” he said. The problem with the Fedders Creek Bridge is that, if the utility lines that run under the bridge have to be relocated, it could take AT&T up to a year to relocate its fiber optic lines.

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