GALT — The city of Galt is getting ready to begin the largest and most expensive project in its history to redo the city's main interchange from Highway 99.
The C Street Interchange project will cost $43.5 million and will nearly double the amount of traffic lights in the city.
The intersection is frequently slow and congested, with cars getting close to backing up onto the freeway. The main problems happen on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the Galt Market is open, said Paul Cavanaugh, Galt's city engineer. There are no signals, so the city has to have someone direct traffic to keep traffic moving.
The overpass was originally constructed in the mid-1950s. The city is working with the California Department of Transportation because the state will maintain the interchange once it is complete.
Construction will most likely begin in September, and with a two-year timeline, drivers can expect many detours, Cavanaugh said.
An overpass will be added to extend A Street across Highway 99, which should be complete by late 2011. In the General Plan, which is a 20-year blueprint outlining how the city will grow, the overpass will eventually lead to a road that will connect A Street to Carillon Boulevard.
Once the A Street bridge is complete, the city will demolish the current C Street overpass and a new bridge will be constructed with the goal of the entire project being complete before Christmas in 2012, Cavanaugh said.
Both overpasses will be a total of six lanes, including two lanes going each direction and two left-hand turn lanes. The city will also add five traffic signals, including one to direct traffic onto the southbound entrance ramp to Highway 99.
There is just one residential neighborhood east of Highway 99 that is near the construction project. Residents there will probably have to deal with truck noise from August though October as tractors move dirt in place for the project, Cavanaugh said. They will also adjust to general construction noise, especially when the current C Street overpass is taken down. That will most likely happen at night and involve jack hammers, he said.
Before noise from the highway was blocked by a wall of trees, which had to be taken down before beginning construction. Cavanaugh said that at the end of the project, the city will add a soundwall to help the neighbors in the future.
David Jones said his house used to feel like it was in the country because the wall of trees kept the sound of the highway out.
"You couldn't even see the road," Jones said. "Now we feel like we are in a fishbowl."
Jones and his wife are currently renting and had planned to buy the house. Now, the couple is waiting to see what the traffic noise is like once the construction is done.
One of Jones' main concerns is the dust that will be whipped up through construction. Down the street, Norma and Lonnie Tye have already had problems when the city tore down three houses across the street. The couple are both in their 70s and had allergy and breathing problems from the dust that was kicked up.
They also are considering moving.
"For traffic, for the councilmembers, for people in on the project, it makes sense," Norma Tye said. "For us, it's a booger. It's going to happen, we can't stop it.
While they are unhappy to be so close to the construction, the Tyes said they do understand that the project is necessary. On Galt Market days, the couple will drive out into the country to avoid the interchange.
A main consideration in planning the construction is making sure people could still get to downtown businesses and the Galt Market while construction is happening.
"If we wanted to shut down town and have no access to 99, we could finish it in a year," Cavanaugh said.
The city will keep the construction company on schedule by giving them a certain amount of days to finish the project, excluding weekends and rain days. If the company misses the deadline, it will be charged $1,000 a day.
Costs and funding at a glance
A breakdown of the $43.5 million project's
— $1.4 million for project reports and the environmental impact report.
— $3.2 million for plan specifications and estimates.
— $7.5 million on right-of-way acquisition, including buying and demolishing four homes in the area.
— $28.1 million on construction.
— $3.3 million for construction management, testing and inspection.
A breakdown of the project's funding
— $15.1 million in regional funding, including money from Measure A.
— $14.5 million from city traffic impact fee
— $13.9 million from a variety of state and federal sources
Timeline for constructionJuly 28: Open bids for the project.
Aug. 17: Award contract for $28 million bid.
September: Begin construction once insurance is exchanged and contracts are signed.
Late 2011: The A Street overpass should be complete and opened up. C Street will be closed and the overpass will be demolished.
Late 2012: The project will be complete, hopefully in time for Christmas.