County updates planners on road projects

By Karen Brainard

Updates on road projects in Ramona, including the state Route 67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection and 13th Street bridge, were presented at the Ramona Community Planning Group meeting on March 1.

RCPG Chair Jim Piva said he and other planning group members have been working with County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and members of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) on funding for a project report on possible improvements for the Route 67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection. The intersection has been called a bottleneck for Ramona and the cause of rush hour traffic back-ups.

Piva said he, Hickman and RCPG Secretary Kristi Mansolf met with SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos and were told they should come up with total funding for the intersection project—estimated at $8 million—because the project report could become outdated if funding is not available for construction. According to Piva, Gallegos came up with some funding ideas that are “outside the box.”

“It’s looking good. It looks very promising,” Piva said, after reporting that Jacob called him that morning to say she had received word that timing couldn’t be better.

“We don’t believe it will take $8 million,” said Piva, but explained the idea is to project a higher amount in case any unexpected issues crop up.

Resident Mischa Dobrotin asked what the improvements would be to the intersection.

Hickman explained that the project report would explore all options. Piva said it would not include a traffic light at Mussey Grade Road, as proposed last year. Piva also said he believed it would involve road widening and not an overpass or roundabout.

Ramonan Joe Minervini asked why the planning group has not added the intersection to the top 10 road priority list.

Piva responded that the top 10 consists of county road improvements for which county transportation impact fees (TIF) are used. The intersection, he said, consists of a state highway for which Caltrans has responsibility, and connects with the county roads.

“This body does not want to use our TIF money for a state highway,” said Piva. “We want to use it for our county roads.” Piva said he thought he would have more to announce about the intersection at next month’s RCPG meeting.

Mike Aguilar, the new county project manager for the Ramona area, presented the status of county road projects.

A bridge for

13th Street/Maple Street

over the Santa Maria creekbed is fully funded through a federal grant, he said. The bridge and paving of that stretch of road will give more accessibility to the Ramona Library and town core. Aguilar presented a schedule of estimated completion dates for the bridge project: design, June 2014; right-of-way, winter 2015; and construction, 2017.

Aguilar also gave the status for the

Ramona Street Extension

which would construct new road to extend Ramona Street from Boundary Avenue to Warnock Drive. Design is scheduled to be completed this spring with right-of-way scheduled for this summer and construction completed in summer of 2013.

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