SR 174 Safety Improvement Project

Safety Improvement on SR 174 Expanded from Maple Way to You Bet Road
This project proposes to realign curves, widen shoulders, add a left turn lane at Greenhorn Access Rd., and improve the clear recovery zone between Maple Way and You Bet Rd. on State Route (SR) 174 in Nevada County. The purpose of this project is to improve safety and operations for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. It will help reduce the number and severity of collisions on the existing highway. This project was amended into the 2014 State Highway Operations and Protection Program (SHOPP) in September 2014, with a revised total cost of $28,456,000, including Engineering, Environmental, Right-of-Way (R/W), and Construction. Circulation of the Draft Environmental Document (DED) was completed on June 2, 2016. A public meeting was held on June 9, 2016 at the Chicago Park School. During the meeting 46 people “signed-in” and the public comment period regarding the project/DED concluded on July 1, 2016. All public comments were answered and the Project Report and Environmental Document were completed on 9/2/2016 and Final Design started. An informational open house was held May 24, 2017 at Chicago Park School. During this meeting 95 people “signed-in” and updates on the status of the project and the R/W process were answered. The majority of those attending the meeting expressed that they were not happy with the proposed design and its impacts on their property or the general atmosphere of the “rural” feel of SR 174. Meetings were held with Nevada County Supervisor Heidi Hall regarding the project as well as a phone meeting with California Assemblyman Dahle. Ms. Hall requested more accident data. Assemblyman Dahle had been contacted by several of his constituents that are opposed to the project and asked several questions regarding the project. He was appreciative of the information provided to him and was in support of this safety project. He commented that if just one life is saved by these changes the project was worth it.

The “Save Hwy 174” group was organized in opposition to the project. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the State in opposition to the project. Caltrans and NCTC staff met with members of the group to discuss the design and the changes the group would like to see made to the project. A meeting was also held in Assemblyman Dahle’s office with Supervisor Hall attending by phone. In that meeting the State and the group were encouraged to find areas where compromise can be achieved.
Caltrans has since met with the Save Hwy 174 Steering Team to discuss concerns and potential design alternatives to minimize community impacts.  Caltrans gave a presentation at the October 24, 2017 Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting.  The Save Hwy 174 group also presented in opposition to the project, and several community members spoke in opposition to the project.  In response, Caltrans is working with Construction and Design staff to see where the design can be modified to reduce roadside impacts while still maintaining the necessary safety measures to address the documented pattern of collisions. The design team is moving forward with a revised design including steeper slopes and narrower right of way limits. Right of Way negotiations continue with individual property owners. The design phase is expected to be completed April 2019.