On Thursday, October 23, 2014, the City of Grass Valley and partner agencies commemorated the completion of one of the biggest public work transportation improvement projects within the Grass Valley area in recent years – the Dorsey Drive Interchange Project.
The successful event drew nearly 100 attendees and media throughout the region and included a speaker program, a 40-student jazz band from Nevada Union High School as well as an ambulance that drove up the new northbound off-ramp after the official ribbon cutting ceremony as the symbolic first vehicle to use the interchange.
Guest speakers included City of Grass Valley Mayor Dan Miller, Nevada County Transportation Commission Executive Director Dan Landon, Caltrans Chief of Construction, North Region John Rodrigues, HDR Inc. Construction Manager Greg Zeiss and McGuire & Hester Construction Manager Sean Moss.
Although the project will not be open until mid-November 2014, construction will be completed on-time and under budget. The City of Grass Valley thanks the public and motorists for their continued patience and appreciates everyone’s support over the past year and a half of construction during this important improvement project.
Working in partnership with Nevada County, Nevada County Transportation Commission, and Caltrans, the City of Grass Valley is thrilled to be under construction on the Dorsey Drive Interchange Project, one of the biggest public works transportation improvement projects within the Grass Valley/Nevada City area in recent years.
Planned for over 20 years, the Dorsey Project will provide direct access for area residents and visitors to and from State Route 20/49 at Dorsey Drive. This new connection also provides more direct access to critical regional destinations including Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, the only hospital in western Nevada County, and the Sierra College Nevada County Campus.
Upon completion, the project will:
• Improve emergency response times
• Create future economic development opportunities through job creation
• Increase tax revenues from new businesses
• Relieve congestion and reduce travel times while gaining additional capacity for future development
• Relieve current operational challenges at the Idaho-Maryland and Brunswick Road Interchanges as well as on East Main Street and the Nevada City Highway
The project is being funded using a variety of Federal, State, and Local funding sources. These funds are available through local developer fees, as well as congestion and transportation improvement programs offered by the Federal Department of Transportation, Caltrans, and the California Transportation Commission.
State Route 20/49 was constructed within the project vicinity in the 1960’s. The current facility is a four-lane freeway with a median and minimal right-of-way on either side. Dorsey Drive is a two lane arterial, extending from Nevada City Highway in the west to Sutton Way in the east, and includes an overcrossing of freeway. The closest interchanges to the project are the Idaho/Maryland Interchange to the south and the Brunswick Road Interchange to the north. Within the Grass Valley/Nevada City area, State Route 20/49 primarily serves local and recreational traffic. The Dorsey Drive Interchange Project will alleviate the existing delays and general congestion at intersections within and adjacent to Dorsey Drive. The two adjacent interchanges currently serve as the primary access points to Sierra Nevada Hospital (the only hospital in western Nevada County), and the Sierra College Nevada County Campus. Hospital Emergency response can be delayed due to the current lack of direct access to the hospital as well as local street congestion. Additionally, local traffic represents a high portion of the existing freeway traffic volumes and seek an alternative to East Main Street for north/south mobility.
The project includes converting the existing overcrossing on Dorsey Drive to a compact diamond interchange. The project also includes improvements to Dorsey Drive between Main Street and Pampas Drive, as well as the modification of a portion of Joerschke Drive to a one-direction roadway that accommodates the southbound Route 20/49 off-ramp traffic.
Interchange improvements will:
• Widen the overcrossing from two to three lanes with two designated left turn lanes
• Construct new on- and off-ramps for access to Route 20/49
• Construct auxiliary lanes on Route 20/49 to the Idaho-Maryland and Brunswick Road interchanges
Dorsey Drive improvements will:
• Construct additional lanes with designated left turn lanes and medians
• Enhance access for pedestrians and bicyclists
• Include landscape features
The construction project is planned to be completed in three stages to minimize impacts and maintain mobility for local and regional travelers. The tentative plan can be reviewed below, however it is subject to change.