Grant Line Road is undergoing a transformation, which includes both current and future projects to widen this major thoroughfare from two to four lanes.
The roadway’s widening from Waterman to Bradshaw roads began in April and is scheduled for completion next spring.
That $13.8 million project includes new traffic signals at Mosher and Bradshaw roads, and a 19-foot-wide, multiuse trail. Another local improvement is the realigning of Bradshaw Road.
The Elk Grove city staff is now planning the construction project’s next phase that will impact Grant Line Road between Bond and Calvine roads. This stretch of the roadway moves through the center of the Sheldon community that has retail businesses and restaurants.
The overall improvements to Grant Line Road are part of a much larger project: the 34-mile Capital SouthEast Connector expressway.
As the Sacramento region’s largest approved transportation project, the Connector will link the southern area of Sacramento County to the Silva Valley Parkway interchange in El Dorado County to the east. It will serve as a connection between Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Folsom.
The Connector project, which had its groundbreaking last May, aims to link Interstate 5 and Highway 99, south of Elk Grove, to Highway 50, east of El Dorado Hills.
Also part of the Connector project is the current reconstruction of Kammerer Road, between Bruceville Road and Lent Ranch Parkway. That project is scheduled to be completed in December.
Kevin Bewsey, the city’s capital program manager, told the Citizen that the city has also been engaged in efforts to define how the Capital SouthEast Connector will ultimately appear in the Sheldon area, which includes Grant Line Road’s widening between Bond and Calvine roads.
“We’ve been working on it since about early 2016 to do a more defined look at this particular segment, which is called Segment C,” he said.
Bewsey noted that three public meetings and 25 property owner meetings have been held, and that additional comments are still being accepted.
“We’re still looking forward to a few more opportunities for the community to provide comments on this particular phase, then we’ll probably have additional opportunities in the future, as we get closer to finalizing things,” he said.
This comment period includes the gathering of information pertaining to whether the community prefers roundabouts or traffic signals at intersections from Bond to Calvine roads, Bewsey noted.
“Based on the input we’ve kind of heard so far, it’s been leaning toward roundabouts,” he said. “But we’re continuing to receive comments through the end of September.”
Proposed locations for those Grant Line Road roundabouts are at Bond, Wilton, Aleilani, Graybill, Sheldon and Calvine roads.
Bewsey described a benefit to placing roundabouts at these intersections.
“The rural area residents want to preserve their rural quality of life, and they do not want Grant Line (Road) to turn into a highway or a freeway,” he said. “Widening to four lanes and putting all these signals in has a greater potential for higher speeds, because you can hit all those green lights and go much faster than (the speed limit).
“(Roundabouts) slow you down a little bit, so from a resident’s standpoint, it has some benefits to it, as far as quality of life goes.”
Bewsey mentioned that the city has received a lot of comments about the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Grant Line and Graybill roads.
“We’re still going through comments whether or not we should be adjusting the location from Graybill Road to Bradley Ranch Road,” he said.
Bewsey added that the city estimates that the Grant Line and Wilton roads section of the overall project will commence in 2025, and the section between Bond and Calvine roads will begin in 2030.
He additionally said that it is currently intended to bring plans for the Segment C portion of the Grant Line Road improvement project to the Elk Grove City Council for final adoption next spring.
Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume, whose council District 2 borders Grant Line Road, last week shared his thoughts on the Grant Line Road improvements during an interview with the Citizen.
“(Grant Line Road) is just going to be easier (to commute on) and safer, with improved access to Bradshaw (Road),” he said.
Hume described Grant Line Road as a “dangerous stretch of road” when people speed in their automobiles.
Hume mentioned the decision-making process to determine whether roundabout or traffic signals are the preferable option for intersections along Grant Line Road.
“The reality is there’s a problem that exists out there today,” he said. “It’s congested traffic. There’s more traffic than it can accommodate. But it’s still going to be eight to 10 to 15 to 20 years before we do a full roadway improvement.
“So, we’re trying to figure out how we can make it function better without completely disrupting what’s so special about that part of Elk Grove in the first place.”
As for funding for the Connector project, Hume noted a large deficiency, noting that there is a $300 million to $400 million shortfall.
“To actually do what has been environmentally cleared by the (Capital SouthEast Connector Joint Powers Authority), there’s some significant hurdles in front of that,” he said. “We’re working to overcome them, but they’re not to be taken lightly.”
Regarding the roundabouts versus traffic signals issue, Hume referred to roundabouts as generally offering a “more sufficient way to move traffic.”
“But when you have inconsiderate or discourteous drivers that are not being safe and are not thinking about other people on the road, and they take advantage of how well those roundabouts work, it can almost be more unsafe than if the roundabout wasn’t there in the first place – versus a stoplight, that you’ve got to be pretty deliberate to run a red light.”
Hume added that roundabouts are also better for air quality, noise levels and handling a higher capacity of automobiles. But he noted that roundabouts may not be as easy to maneuver for large trucks and trailers, as opposed to traffic signals.
For additional information about Grant Line Road improvements, visit the website www.GrantLine.org.
Community shares thoughts on Grant Line Road’s next phase
Editor’s note: Herburger Publications writer Gail Bullen, a staff writer for the Citizen’s sister publication River Valley Times, attended the Aug. 31 community meeting on the Grant Line Road project. A portion of her coverage is presented below.
The city’s Public Works Department held a public meeting on Aug. 31 that drew about 140 people to the Adkins Family Vineyards in Sheldon.
Attendees showed up early to look at a two-layer exhibit alongside a building that showed what Grant Line Road would look like with traffic signals or roundabouts. Two other exhibits displayed the proposed Wilton Road alignment and the 34-mile Capital SouthEast Connector project connecting Elk Grove to El Dorado Hills. Grant Line Road runs through the Sheldon community in Segment C of the connector.
Alan Glen, an AECOM engineer who lives in Wilton, made the case that more expensive roundabouts would be preferred at all six intersections, because they would be much safer and would save two commercial buildings – Sheldon Feed & Supply and The Wrangler bar – on one location.
He also told the crowd that realigning Wilton Road by adding another roundabout at Leisure Lane would eliminate almost all impacts on Sheldon’s businesses.
Glen explained that lower speeds would likely make the Sheldon roundabouts safer than what audience members said is happening at Elk Grove’s current roundabouts at Sheldon Road.
He said he couldn’t specify when shovels will go into the ground, “because the right of way acquisition, the final design and the construction has not yet been identified.” Glen said it likely would be seven or eight years before the first part of the project begins and probably 10-plus years to finish the entire project.
Eighteen audience members spoke at the meeting, and many filled out written comment cards. Several were skeptical about roundabouts given their experiences with other Elk Grove intersections. Three attendees essentially said any plans for construction should be stopped.
Four attendees criticized roundabouts in Elk Grove, indicating that many drivers using them are driving too fast and don’t yield. One speaker referred to high development projects going on at the same time in surrounding areas.
“This is not a high-density community. We are rural, and you are forcing high density on this,” she said.
Another speaker asked how the city would “honor the votes” for each option.
“I want it to stay the way it is,” that speaker said. “How will that be received by the city?”
An attendee referenced all the widening work being done on Bradshaw and Waterman roads.
“Why are you coming through our small town?” she asked. “Why are you going to ruin what (we) call sanctitude to live?”
The Sheldon roundabouts have been designed so motorists will traverse them between 20 and 25 mph.
Glen explained that the roundabouts will be designed with an apron in the center, so they can accommodate big rigs and trucks hauling horse trailers.
Theron Roschen, who is managing the project for the city, said all public comments will be summarized and posted as frequently asked questions on the city’s website for the Sheldon project within a couple weeks.