Passed over for grants, Santa Rosa considering digging into reserves, other funds for Hearn Ave overpass
Written by Marc Albert
Traffic on the two-lane overpass frequently backs up on to US 101 photo credit: GoogleMaps
Passed over by federal and state agencies, Santa Rosa leaders Tuesday will consider a few radical fiscal moves to fast-track long promised overhaul of the outmoded Hearn Avenue overpass.
A relic with its short ramps, sharp turns and no sidewalks, officials have had replacing the overpass over US 101 on the books since 2004, part of the Measure M expenditure plan.
After being repeatedly turned down for federal transportation grant programs, Santa Rosa is ready to move forward on its own.
Assistant City Manager of the City of Santa Rosa Jason Nutt said the city's grant applications were rejected despite ranking highly each of the past five years.
"California in general receives a little less attention than some of the other states around the country. And, when we're competing against cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, it's harder for us to get to the top of the list."
The new overpass would be higher, allowing taller trucks to pass beneath, have a sidewalk and protected two-way bike path, and reduce backups.
City councilmembers will be asked Tuesday to approve a measure re-allocating $3.4 million dollars earmarked for another pedestrian overpass over US 101---at Elliot and Edwards avenue, along with $8.6 million in general fund reserves. Nutt is confident future successful grants will replace that money.
"What we're attempting to do is utilize funding that's ready to be used to try to deliver projects that are ready to go. And then, we will actively search for replacement funding for the Elliot/Edwards bike/ped overcrossing as we wait for that project to get fully designed."
With a contract expected to go out to bid next year, Nutt predicted the new overpass could open in 2026.
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