Transportation officials are delivering some early Christmas gifts this year, including this shiny bauble for south area drivers:
The 3-plus-mile, $95 million Cosumnes River Boulevard extension opens on Tuesday afternoon, offering a major, new east-west connector between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.
The road, which alternates between four and six lanes, connects from Franklin Road to Freeport Boulevard and includes a major interchange at Interstate 5 near the town of Freeport, just south of the Meadowview and Pocket areas of Sacramento.
The new thoroughfare gives south area commuters more options and will ease traffic congestion on Mack, Meadowview and several other south area roads, said Nader Kamal, the city’s project manager.
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For now, that is. But not necessarily for long.
That’s because the new road and interchange also pave the way for construction of Delta Shores, a major shopping center and residential community – the biggest Sacramento has seen since the North Natomas area opened 15 years ago.
Preliminary work already is underway for a 900,000-square-foot commercial center on I-5. Merlone Geier Partners, a San Francisco-based developer, plans a Walmart, an R.C. Willey, a movie theater, a sporting goods store, a pet supply store, clothing stores, restaurants and assorted other retail outlets. Expect to see buildings sometime in 2016.
The city also has given approval for 5,200 homes along the boulevard, just south of the Meadowview community. Gary Muljat of Merlone Geier said his company will sell the land to home builders, but it does not have a definite timetable yet.
Crispin Cider is rolling again
State and Placer County officials teamed to give a cider company up in Colfax a $1.2 million stocking stuffer last week.
It made up for the lump of coal the state gave Crispin Cider a couple years ago. That’s when the CHP began ticketing the homegrown Colfax company’s delivery trucks for using the Interstate 80 freeway ramps near the cider plant.
Those ramps were outdated, with turning radii too small for large trucks. Not exactly Crispin’s fault.
Crispin, now owned by a national brewer, isn’t a large company. It has fewer than four dozen employees. But in little Colfax, that makes it the biggest employer in town. (It’s also rated as one of the best hard cider companies in the country.)
City officials were worried the state’s actions might prompt Crispin to leave.
So the city, county and state huddled two years ago, pulled some strings in Sacramento, and got funds fast-tracked to modify the interchange. Colfax Mayor Kim Douglass lauded Celia McAdam of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, who, he said, “rubs elbows with the right people in the state Capitol.”
“That enabled us to keep Crispin Cider,” the mayor said. “I think the state wanted to show how they do want to work with local businesses. They went out of their way. We thanked them.”
“A nice little win-win,” McAdam said.