Old Auburn Road Complete Street Project Moves ForwardFeb 07, 2024 04:22PM ● By Thomas J. Sullivan, photos by Thomas J. Sullivan
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - City engineers shared their vision for key improvements to four intersections on Old Auburn Road from Sylvan/Auburn Boulevard to Garry Oak Drive in a recent community workshop to discuss the Old Auburn Complete Streets (OARCS) Phase 1 Project.
The stretch of road is a little over three-quarters of a mile and extends from Tiara Way to Garry Oak Drive.
The specific construction project timeline and cost are still to be determined as additional funding from state and federal sources continues to be sought, said senior City Civil Engineer Daniel Kehrer.
The city continues to prepare and submit requests for state and federal grants along with regional funding programs from Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) to obtain all or some of the estimated $7+ million needed for construction of the project.
The Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan was adopted by the City Council on March 26, 2020.
The route has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour and shifts between two and four travel lanes.
When completed, the project will improve safety along the road for people driving, riding bicycles, walking, and taking transit along the route which runs northeast/southwest between Sylvan Road / Auburn Boulevard to Garry Oak Drive, connecting to the commercial corridors of Auburn Boulevard and Sunrise Boulevard.
Daniel Kehrer, city civil engineer.
In all, the federally funded grant project creates 7,000 feet of protected bikeways and sidewalk enhancements as well as road resurfacing, traffic signal upgrades, new street lighting and upgrades to storm drain infrastructure.
The project reduces traffic to two single travel lanes and a center two-way left turn lane, drawings show. Since incorporation, the city has routinely received concerns from residents regarding safety along Old Auburn Road.
Concerns include excessive vehicle speeds, lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, safe crossings, increased congestion and a history of collisions.
Prior public outreach workshops which discussed the project were held in March and December of 2019.
New landscape buffers, enhanced pedestrian crossings, a consistent two-way left turn lane, roadway and pedestrian lighting and traffic signal modifications are just some of the features of the project, Kehrer said.
Kehrer said reducing the number of lanes not only aims to improve safety, but also discourages cut-through traffic along Old Auburn Road.
His presentation also described four “hot spot” intersections along Old Auburn Road that will be modified for increased safety. These include the intersections at Tiara Way, Sunrise Boulevard, Dannon Court, and Fair Oaks Boulevard.
Specific changes along the route help create what Kehrer described as protected intersections.
New corner islands will provide physical protection for bicyclists and pedestrians waiting to cross, reduce crossing distances for people bicycling or walking, and reduce speeds for turning vehicles, project illustrations show.
Set back crossings allow space for a turning vehicle to stop and wait for a bicyclist or pedestrian to clear the crossing without blocking through traffic, according to city engineers.
Residents voiced their comments concerning plans to improve the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard and the outcome of initial steps installed in early 2020 to reduce traffic collisions.
The intersection has been the site of more than three dozen collisions involving a left-turning vehicle from Fair Oaks Boulevard colliding with a planter along Old Auburn Road.
The City of Citrus Heights has installed new signage to increase visibility of planter barriers, added striping to channelize turning cars, converted a right traffic lane to right turn lane only, installed clearer markings and placed a speed feedback sign. Some suggested the installation of speed tables along Fair Oaks Boulevard to further slow traffic.
These recent modifications have since reduced the collisions at the intersection by half, Kehrer said.
To improve both bicycle and pedestrian safety, a free right-turn lane from Old Auburn Road onto Antelope Road will also be eliminated along with the free right-turn lane from Old Auburn Road onto Fair Oaks Boulevard, Kehrer said.
The project is in its environmental compliance and public outreach phase, with the next phase of final design and right-of-way slated for 2024-2025. Next steps for the city through 2025 will be acquiring right-of-way permits and coordinating with utility companies.
The City of Citrus Heights has contracted with GHD, Inc., a San Francisco engineering consulting firm, to conduct first-phase design services. A timeline for phase two of the project has yet to be announced but will extend from Sylvan Corners to Tiara Way.
“We’re hopeful to obtain additional funding for this project and begin construction before the end of this decade,” Kehrer said.
For more information about the Old Auburn Complete Street Project, visit: www.citrusheights.net/942/Old-Auburn-Road-Complete-Streets-Plan.