A federal appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday includes $500,000 for construction of a new Walerga Roadbridge over Dry Creek in western PlacerCounty.
PlacerCountyofficials hailed the news, noting that the federal funding would allow them to keep the project on schedule.
“This project is a high priority because the existing bridge is flood-prone and too narrow to easily handle the ever-increasing number of vehicles that use it,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Santucci.
“The $500,000 in federal funding is critical, because it would allow us to complete design work. It wouldn’t be possible without Congressman John Doolittle of Roseville, who has championed this project for several years and worked hard to get federal funding for it.”
Supervisor Santucci represents the 1st District, which includes the area of West Placer where the bridge is located.
The appropriations bill still must be approved by the full House of Representatives and the Senate.
County officials noted they may not receive final word until this fall on whether the bridge funding will be in the final appropriations bill that emerges from the House and Senate. They emphasized, however, that Tuesday’s action is an important, and encouraging first step.
Built in 1973, the existing two-lane bridge over Dry Creek needs to be replaced because it is flood prone and inadequate for the increasing traffic volumes. Walerga is a rural road that connects two rapidly growing areas: Rosevilleand communities in northern SacramentoCounty.
Traffic volumes are expected to double over the next decade because of development in North Sacramento, the city of Rosevilleand unincorporated areas of West Placer.
The new bridge will have four traffic lanes and shoulders wide enough to accommodate bicycle lanes and pedestrians. It will be higher than the existing bridge to significantly reduce the risk of flooding, provide better emergency-vehicle access when the creek is running high and create fewer stream-flow obstructions.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $13 million. Construction is scheduled to start in 2008.
In 2002, the federal government appropriated $1 million for preliminary studies and design work.
PlacerCountyand Rosevilleare teaming up to raise funds for the bridge project and other West Placer road improvements though a joint traffic fee program. The fees are paid by new developments that increase traffic on roads targeted for improvement.
The program is expected to raise more than $6 million for the new bridge.