Lake County’s Biggest Project Focuses on Safety and Capacity
Located on State Route 29 in Lake County near Kelseyville in rolling mountainous terrain, the existing rural, two-lane highway lacked the capacity to safely accommodate accelerating traffic and increased volume from the growing populations of Lakeport, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, and Middletown. As a result, the highway had a high accident fatality rate and a higher-than-average rate of wildlife versus car accidents. Expanding the section of the highway to four lanes with controlled access, would increase capacity and significantly improve highway safety. Additionally, the new expressway help divert traffic from communities on the northern end of Clear Lake, where pedestrian and nonmotorized traffic safety have been an ongoing concern.
This $65 million Caltrans state highway project is the first phase of a three-phase, $195 million project to turn eight miles of Highway 29 into a four-lane expressway. The project has been planned since 1988 and is the largest project to be completed in Lake County in more than 50 years.
Widening, Realignment, and Wildlife Under-Crossings
The first phase widened and realigned three miles of SR 29 from a two-lane conventional undivided highway to a four-lane divided expressway with access control.
Because the highway was substantially widened, a series of permanent and temporary access and frontage roads were constructed to provide access to the residences, businesses, and parcels being served by SR 29. Also, utilities were relocated, including drainage and stormwater control systems. The additional right-of-way was required to widen portions of the highway, and two wildlife under-crossings were installed to reduce the potential for collisions between vehicles and wildlife.
Quality Construction Management and Inspection
Ghirardelli provided construction management and inspection for this project. Our Assistant Resident Engineer supported the resident engineer with construction management, inspection, and public relations. Specifically, they were the main point of contact for adjacent landowners, utilities, and biological, environmental, cultural, and tribal representatives to keep them informed about the project and answer any questions or concerns. Our lead and onsite construction inspectors provided inspection day and night for earthwork, drainage systems, paving, erosion control, striping, Right of Way and wildlife fencing, traffic control, and other project aspects. Our team kept daily diaries, tracked quantities, and maintained site photos, and other documentation. They also reviewed plans and progress in the field to identify drainage, existing utility, erosion control, and staging/detour oversights and deficiencies.
The project was completed within budget and before the deadline.