If you drive in Santa Rosa, chances are good you’ve been stalled by this project: Since early June, crews have been building new right-turn lanes at the busy intersection of Mendocino Avenue and Bicentennial Way. Good news. Paving crews are finishing up, with just a few details to follow.

Readers also wrote about another delay on the Calistoga grade and asked about plans to help drivers cross River Road and to slow traffic in tiny Freestone. Not such good news. Answers follow.

Question: What is the status of the road reconstruction at Mendocino and Bicentennial? About 3 weeks ago, crews began to prepare the road for resurfacing, roughly filling in the new lanes, grinding down the road, and  leaving large dips that are not obviously marked,  in the roadway and then nothing has happened.  Not a single construction crew has been on site during the last 3 weeks.   Safety cones are no longer in position to safely direct traffic – the intersection is in a dangerous condition and it doesn’t seem as if the project is progressing.  Is there a timeline for this project to complete? — Beth Briggs

The answer comes from Steve Dittmer, Santa Rosa traffic engineerFinish paving is scheduled for Thursday and Friday nights, Nov. 7 and 8. After that, there are a few manhole covers that need to be adjusted to the new pavement grade and the roadway will be restriped. Only minor work will remain.

Delays ahead

Sean wrote to warn us about roadwork on Petrified Forest Road, the final leg of the Calistoga Grade between Santa Rosa and Calistoga. Paving crews will be there between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7 and 8, between the Napa County line and Calistoga city limits. Sonoma County’s portion of that road was repaved this summer.

Help turning left across River Road traffic

Question: Are there any plans on doing anything with Barnes Rd at River Rd? Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to turn left on to River Rd as the East – West traffic stopped at the new light at the freeway exit backs up past Barnes Road and drivers block the intersection. Something like KEEP CLEAR in the road way? — Mandy

The answer comes from Tom O’Kane, deputy director of the Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Utilities: This comment has come up several times in the past. I do not doubt that Barnes is sometimes blocked by vehicles stopped at the signal for the U.S. 101 southbound ramp, but every time we have investigated it, there has been only very minor delays.

Many of the traffic problems along the U.S. 101 corridor are a direct result of the construction at the Airport interchange. Much of the traffic increases are diversions from this area. We will check out this conditions at the Barnes/River intersection & determine if a “keep clear” zone is appropriate.

Slowing traffic in tiny Freestone

Question: As a resident of Freestone, I wonder if a series of rumble strips has ever been considered to slow traffic on the Bohemian Highway where the speed limit is 25 MPH. A good location would be at the intersection of Bohemian Highway with El Camino Bodega on the WestBound lane:

There is a lot of pedestrian traffic across the highway to access the bakery. The road narrows through our little town, and cars speed through, clipping into the bike/pedestrian lane at the side of the road:

The curves that are routinely "clipped" by fast driving traffic.

This makes it a life endangering situation to walk to our FAMOUS bakery. This might be a low cost method of alerting and reminding drivers of the 25MPH speed limit through town. Thanks for any suggestions or further actions you may be able to provide to help with this problem. — Judith O Smith

This answer also comes from Tom O’Kane: I travel this area fairly frequently, and it is rare to see a vehicle traveling at a speed greater than 25mph through this section of roadway. Usually, they are slowing to find a parking space, as it is often congested with customers parked on both sides of the highway at all hours of the day.

Rumblestrips do tend to slow traffic, but we do not use them near any residential properties because the noise the drivers hear when they pass over the strips is magnified outside the vehicle. Sound travels far in this area of the Freestone community. I would not install rumble strips here. P.S. Your reader is absolutely correct about the bread store. It is wonderful!!


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