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Archive for the 'Roads' Category

The fourth bore’s groundbreaking ceremony

Politicians and officials from federal, state and county transpotation agencies met today in Orinda for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Caldecott Tunnel’s fourth bore project.

The project, which may have been saved when $197 million was granted to it through federal stimulus funds after the state struggled to sell transportation bonds, is expected to be completed by 2014. Additional funding is being provided by the state, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and bride tolls from the Bay Bridge.

Intense planning for the construction is set to begin in the coming weeks, as construction crews will dig from each side simultaneously until meeting in the middle. Major digging is scheduled to begin in May.

Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Under: Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Severe weather is causing major traffic problems

The rain has certainly made an impact on the commute for Lamorinda drivers already today and will likely continue to do so for the next few days.

Traffic was so bad that it was taking 30 or more minutes for drivers to get from Central Lafayette to Orinda on Highway 24 this morning. The same drive is currently taking around 20 minutes as of 1:30 p.m.

Don’t expect traffic on Highway 24 to get any better as the day goes on, as CalTrans is expected to close the third bore in the Caldecott Tunnel at some point this afternoon or tonight. The bore flooded due to some problems draining all of the rain water.

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Roads | No Comments »

Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore groundbreaking to happen Friday

The groundbreaking ceremony for the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel will take place this Friday, Jan. 22, at 11:00 a.m. The ceremony was originally set to take place on Wednesday, but it was rescheduled so that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can attend.

The ceremony is invite only and will be held near Gateway Boulevard in Orinda.

Talks of a fourth bore have been in the works for years, and the idea will finally come to fruition. Early estimates are that it could take more than three years and $420 million to complete the project.

Posted on Monday, January 18th, 2010
Under: Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Campolindo neighborhood looking to slow speeders

The Campolindo neighborhood in Moraga is the most recent neighborhood looking to make an impact against the Lamorinda speeding problem.

The Campolindo Homeowners Association will make a proposal to the Moraga Traffic Safety Advisory Committee at their Jan. 6 meeting to install new traffic signs in the area. The signs that the Campolindo neighborhood is hoping for are the solar-power “Your Speed Is” signs, which have already been put in place in several places in the Lamorinda area.

If the Campolindo neighborhood installs the signs, it won’t be long before other neighborhoods fighting a speeding problem will likely follow the trend.

Posted on Monday, December 28th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Roads | No Comments »

Caltrans meeting in Orinda about Caldecott Tunnel expansion

Caltrans will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the potential expansion of the Caldecott Tunnel this Thursday, Dec. 10, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Orinda. The meeting will take place at the Orinda Community Center, located at 28 Orinda Way.

Both state and local transportation officials will be on hand  to talk about the addition of a fourth bore. Officials from Caltrans and the two counties involved, Contra Costa and Alameda, will begin the meeting with a brief overview of the planned expansion before opening it up for public questions and discussion.

Construction of a fourth bore is scheduled to begin early next year.

Posted on Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Under: Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Water main break in Lafayette causes damage

A water main broke last night near the intersection of Reliez Valley Road and Withers Avenue in Lafayette. East Bay Municipal Utilities District workers responded to a report of the broken main around 11 p.m.

The break resulted in a large sinkhole in the road. It also caused about 40 customers in the area to lose water service to their homes. Initial estimations for the time customers would have their water service returned were delayed after a gas main in the area also broke.

PG&E workers came to repair the broken gas main, so that EBMUD could finish repairing the broken water main. EBMUD has stated that water service should be returned late tonight.

Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Under: Lafayette, Roads | No Comments »

MOFD close to new fire chief?

When the Moraga-Orinda Fire District Board of Directors extended interim Chief Pete Nowicki’s contract in July through the end of October, it was because they were hoping to have his replacement named by the end of September, giving Nowicki the 3-4 weeks he says he needs to transition the new chief into the job.

Now it’s the middle of November, and the district is still without a new fire chief. But they may be close. Wednesday’s meeting includes a closed session agenda item discussing the appointment of a new chief. That’s not new. They’ve been having these closed session meetings fairly regularly and board members have said they have a leading candidate and have been checking references and negotiating compensation.

But during the open session, there’s an agenda item for “New District Fire Chief Appointment Review And Potential Approval of Employment Contract.” Theoretically, if everything regarding the new fire chief is hammered out in closed session, they could approve his contract in the open session.

That raises the question, if Nowicki needs 3-4 weeks to transition the new chief into the job, and his contract currently is set to expire Nov. 19, will he ask for another extension to give him more time for that transition?

Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Under: Moraga, Orinda, Roads, Schools | No Comments »

Tunnel vision

As a reverse commuter through the Caldecott from Oakland to Walnut Creek, I can’t wait for the fourth bore to open. That’s why I was happy too see some time made during last night’s Town Council meeting for an update. And I wasn’t the only one excited about the project.

Mayor Dave Trotter provided one moment of levity when he said how much his oldest son used to love driving through the Caldecott, and “He particularly liked the middle ‘tun-tun.'”

That would be the one I never get to use.

Trotter also prodded the Caltrans project manager giving the presentation on the tunnel for news about the Bay Bridge, and when she said she had none, he turned to Caltrans employee and Moraga Vice Mayor Ken Chew for an update.

No luck there, either. “No comment,” Chew said.

Full story on the Rancho Laguna II appeal coming later today.

Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Roads | No Comments »

Traffic woes, investment woes

There was a special Orinda City Council meeting last night, and although I was epically late, I was there in time to hear them discuss about $750,000 in notes they have invested in the investment firm CIT Group, which is trying to avoid bankruptcy. The city has to decide whether they want to sell the notes or hold on for a little while to try to get the best price for them. Full story coming later this week.

Of course, while I was sitting in gridlocked Walnut Creek traffic, I could at least be thankful I didn’t have to cross the Bay Bridge any time soon. Lamorindan bridge commuters, how did you find a way around the mess last night?

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Search for new MOFD chief continues

Moraga-Orinda Fire District officials had hoped to have the search for a new fire chief wrapped up by the end of September, but they’re well past that unofficial deadline and it’s unclear right now then the district will have a new leader.

The Board of Directors has been meeting with consultants and interviewing candidates for several weeks now. Board President Pete Wilson told me today that the list of candidates is down to three but declined to say much more. The search is being led by consultants Bill Avery and Larry Bienati, who received over 50 applicants for the position. Various stakeholder groups and the board have whittled that number down to where it currently is.

Current Chief Pete Nowicki told me he has not been led to believe they have made a final decision, but added he’s been told not to schedule any more meetings on the issue. He said he would need 3-4 weeks to transfer command of the department to the new chief. His current contract expires Oct. 30, and an extension is on the agenda for Wednesday, so if there’s no announcement of a new chief, how long that extension is could be a clue to how close they are to hiring someone. Under his retirement plan, Nowicki can work as a consultant up to 6 months in a fiscal year, meaning he could potentially work until Dec. 31 since the fiscal year begins July 1.

In somewhat related news, here’s our article about Antioch’s police chief announcing his plans to retire but then come back as a consultant. Nowicki, of course, is “double dipping” as well, and most of the attention focused on the district lately has been on the pension he is drawing concurrently with his salary.

The MOFD meeting is Wednesday at 5 p.m., though it will begin in closed session. It will take place at the fire station at 1280 Moraga Way.

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009
Under: Crime, Moraga, Orinda, Roads | No Comments »