Friday, January 12, 2007

New northern connector could ease highway traffic, increase worries

New connector could ease highway traffic, increase worries

Herman Rowland's former Cadenasso winery property at Abernathy Road and Interstate 80 will anchor the eastern entrance to the region's next planned major road - the North Connector. The four-lane road will take a bite out of Rowland's land and send thousands of cars daily by his farm and warehouse. Transportation officials say the road will also help solve the area's traffic woes, both on I-80 and on nearby rural roads.. Opponents say the road will take traffic off the freeway and bring it through their neighborhoods. The North Connector is to incorporate an existing section of Business Center Drive near the Safeway and Costco shopping areas in Green Valley.. The North Connector is to run from Abernathy Road to Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon, a distance of about five miles. The goal is to provide a new link between Green Valley and central Fairfield for local traffic.. "It's absolutely beautiful soil." But he sees the need for the North Connector. "Everybody has to sacrifice a little," Rowland said. Meanwhile, he's been dealing with county and state laws that govern produce stands. He's also found concrete on some of his land that he thinks is left over from when the state built the nearby freeway decades ago. All of this has made it harder to realize his dreams for the property.. Next, the North Connector will pass Russell Road, where a warehouse and barn will be removed. A concrete installation company that uses the warehouse must relocate. No other businesses and no homes stand in the way of the new road.. Overall, the road will cover about 23 acres of prime agricultural land. One of these farms - the Valine property - is protected by the Solano Land Trust. Since 2000, it has been covered by a conservation easement that keeps it privately owned, but with the development rights retired.. a conservation easement, while preserving the land from subdivisions and other buildings, cannot stop it from being condemned and taken for a road.. The environmental study for the North Connector calls for the Solano Transportation Authority to compensate for prime farmland lost to the road by preserving farmland elsewhere.. Some residents see the North Connector as becoming a segment of Highway 12, though that is not officially going to happen. But they see it as linking the Suisun City-to-Rio Vista segment of Highway 12 near Abernathy Road and the Fairfield-to-Napa segment at Jameson Canyon near Green Valley..

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