Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Caltrans to Fund Only Part of I-80 Repairs for Now

Caltrans to Fund Only Part of I-80 Repairs for Now
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - The worst of the crumbling concrete slab pavement on local Interstate 80 should get emergency repairs in coming months - but only the worst.

A long-awaited extensive renovation of the deteriorating freeway through Fairfield and Vacaville might have to wait another few years.

The state Department of Transportation District 4 wanted $14 million to immediately replace 1,400 concrete slabs, a Solano Transportation Authority memorandum said. Each slab is a few feet wide.

Caltrans headquarters agreed to $2 million, pending approval by the California Transportation Commission on March 15-16, Caltrans spokesman Steve Cobb said.

"It would be able to take care of some of the worst stuff, at least," Cobb said.

Renovating the stretch of freeway from Highway 12 in Fairfield to Leisure Town Road in Vacaville would cost an estimated $42 million. That could happen in 2008 or later.

Doing only the worst slabs for now doesn't satisfy Gary Tatum, president of the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce. He doesn't want the remaining subpar slabs to continue jolting drivers on the freeway.

"We can't wait until 2008 or 2009," Tatum said. "It's ridiculous."

He plans to call some of the California Transportation Commission members, Tatum said. He'll take a contingent of citizens to Sacramento to speak with transportation officials, if necessary, he said.

Caltrans District 4 Area Director Bijan Sartipi met with the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce Business Issues Committee on Feb. 9. The session became heated as participants told him the bad pavement on the local freeway is a safety hazard.

That followed requests by the Solano Transportation Authority and Assemblywoman Lois Wolk that Caltrans District 4 look at improving the freeway.

District 4 subsequently sought the money from Caltrans headquarters to the do the job. At one point, Tatum and others were hoping for a far more extensive repair job than Caltrans is now proposing.

For now, drivers will apparently have to settle for a road that's a little bit smoother, but far from perfect.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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