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Galt City council postpones approval of traffic plan for month

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Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 10:00 pm

The Galt City Council decided to wait a month to decide if it wants to approve or modify the city's traffic study as a beginning model for future improvements to Highway 99 and Galt streets.

The council was briefed on the traffic study by Omni-Means, a Roseville engineering firm, at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The Omni-Means study is in conjunction with a Caltrans study that calls for Highway 99 to be widened from four to six lanes between Elk Grove Boulevard and the south end of Galt.

Caltrans also plans to improve the Central Galt and Twin Cities Road interchanges to accommodate the growth that has taken place in the past decade, construct a third interchange - by possibly connecting Pringle Avenue to the west and Ayers Lane to the east - eliminate northbound exits at Crystal Way, Simmerhorn Road and Walnut Avenue and eliminate southbound exits at Walnut, Elm Avenue and Fairway Drive.

At Walnut, Caltrans may construct a fourth Galt interchange or build an overcrossing so motorists can cross the highway there. Currently, northbound motorists have access only to the portion of Walnut east of Highway 99, and southbound motorists can only reach the west side.

City Councilman Tim Raboy said he would welcome the improvements proposed by Caltrans, but he also would prefer a better overpass at Amador Avenue and an overpass linking Elm Avenue on the west and Simmerhorn Road on the east. He would also prefer an interchange at Elm/Simmerhorn.

Martin Inouye, a principal at Omni-Means, said the cost of the interchange improvements will probably be shared by the city and Caltrans. Councilman Dan Pillsbury estimated a cost of $80 million to $120 million for new interchanges.

Caltrans official Keith Rhodes said in a recent interview that funding to improve Highway 99 may not be available until at least 2009. Funding for environmental studies will be available in July 2004 at the earliest, and it will take five years to complete the studies, Rhodes said.

Construction of the entire stretch between south Elk Grove and the south end of Galt will cost an estimated $300 million in 2001 dollars, Rhodes said.

Improving the Central Galt interchange will take considerably more study, Public Works Director Doug Gault told the council.

The city is considering two options, one to continue connecting the interchange with C Street, which leads to City Hall, major shopping areas and the Galt Market.

Another option calls for the overpass to align with A Street, which leads motorists to the back side of Galt Plaza, the city's major shopping area and expanding Civic Drive through the shopping center to link A Street with City Hall and the flea market. The plan also calls for the extension of Chabolla Avenue through the Valley Oak Shopping Center and the western side of Galt Plaza.

An advantage to realigning the Central Galt overpass to A Street, according to the Omni-Means study, is that A Street continues west several miles out of town.

If the interchange continues along C Street, a diagonal spur road should be built on C from Lincoln Way northwest to A at Sixth Street, the study said. Sixth Street is two blocks west of Lincoln Way.

Councilman Dan Pillsbury said he would like to take more time to read the extensive traffic study before the council decides whether to adopt it as a working document toward an updated circulation element to the Galt General Plan.

Mayor Tony Gora, who attended the first part of Tuesday's meeting, was absent when the traffic study was presented to the council.

Pillsbury suggested that the council consider the study be deferred until the next meeting, Jan. 15. The first meeting of January was canceled because it falls on New Year's Day.

The city's draft traffic circulation plan is available to the public at the Galt city clerk's office, 380 Civic Drive, and at the Marian O. Lawrence Library, 1000 Caroline Ave.

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