With the passage of May and the arrival of summertime heat, Caltrans projects in the county are ramping up. There are several projects in the county starting this week, and I talked with Caltrans District 10 Public Information Officer (PIO) Bob Highfill about projects you need to be aware of before you drive on county highways.

You may have wondered why Warren Alford is no longer the PIO for the eight counties, including Amador County, that comprise District 10. Highfill explained that Alford, who I’ve interviewed for past articles, has been promoted to the heat of public legislative affairs for District 10 and is working as of Caltrans’ new Cleanup California initiative.

Bob Highfill Caltrans District 10 PIOHighfill added that there are four PIOs in District 10 and Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, and Mariposa counties are under his purview. He started working for Caltrans only in February after working in marketing communications for the Lodi Wine Grape Commission. Before Highfill worked for the commission, he was an editor and reporter for the Stockton Record for 30 years, which helps explain why Caltrans was interested in hiring him.

Paving 88

The first project is important if you live and work in Jackson or need to drive to Sutter Amador Hospital on Highway 88. Starting this week, Caltrans will repave Highway 88 from Broadway to just east of Court Street. This construction will not be affected by the implementation of ADA-compliant sidewalks and guardrails around the intersection of Highways 49 and 88 in central Jackson that are well on their way to completion.

During the summer, Caltrans will repave Highway 88 from Rocky Creek Bridge to just east of Dalton Road. Yes, that’s the stretch of highway that includes the main entrance to Jackson Rancheria Casino and Resort. What’s more, Caltrans will repave Highway 88 from Climax Road to Mount Zion Road in Pine Grove. This project is funded by SB1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

Jackson Highway 88 construction mapThough Highfill doesn’t know exactly when paving will start because logistics are always uncertain until just before a project starts, but you should plan now for alternate routes and longer travel times. He added that people can keep up to date on the District 10 website, “because there are so many moving parts and we want to be as transparent as possible.”

Culverts Aplenty

There are plenty of culvert construction projects in the works, too. A culvert is a pipe to allow water to flow underneath a road, and Caltrans will be installing them in several locations in the county before winter inevitably comes.

The first is on Highway 88 at the southern end of Irish Town Road between Jackson and Pine Grove. “Irish Town Road at Highway 88 will be closed,” Highfill said. “The culvert will be delivered to us on June 26, so we expect construction to start soon after, and there will be a detour there.”

Highway 88 Irish Town Road construction map

The other is on Highway 104 in Ione at East Washington Street, which is right across the street from Ione Elementary School. Expect to experience delays in June and July so this project can be completed before school is scheduled to start on August 11.

Plan Ahead

With all this work going on in the county, Highfill pointed out that the goal of all this work is to get it done as efficiently as possible. “I think we’re sensitive to make sure we’re doing what the taxpayers entrust us to do,” he said. “We want to deliver a great product and do it in a way that’s least impactful to the public. We understand what that means.”

You can read more about Caltrans District 10 and what it’s doing, including their latest Facebook and Twitter posts, on the District 10 website. You can also view a list of all the current projects in Amador County and the rest of District 10. You can also visit the Caltrans QuickMap website to get current traffic alerts and download the mobile app.

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