The Public Eye

City of Sacramento launches infrastructure building boom

Scott Davis, right, and Kayla Robbins of Fresno wait for a ride at the downtown Sacramento Amtrak train station in June 18, 2012.
Scott Davis, right, and Kayla Robbins of Fresno wait for a ride at the downtown Sacramento Amtrak train station in June 18, 2012.

The city of Sacramento is in the midst of an infrastructure construction boom.

City officials said this week that they are in the middle of or are preparing to begin more than $400 million worth of improvements. The projects include street extensions, pedestrian bridges, water treatment projects and a major renovation of the historic downtown train depot.

The work is spread throughout the city and does not include the city’s $255 million contribution to the new downtown sports arena.

“There is a broad canvas of the city that is benefiting,” said city Public Works director Jerry Way.

The roughly $170 million in public works projects are being paid for by a wide variety of sources, including federal and state grants, local sales tax dollars earmarked for transportation projects and development fees.

The most expensive project under Public Works’ control – a $34 million rehabilitation of the downtown train station – launched last week. The two-year project will add office and retail space to the 88-year-old building. Nearly half the funding is from a federal transportation grant. State grants and local transportation tax dollars are also being used.

Not far from the train station, city officials said they plan to ask for construction bids early next year on the redesign of the Capitol Mall crossing over Interstate 5, funded by federal grants. The $10.5 million project will add a street connection from Capitol Mall to Second Street in Old Sacramento and widen the sidewalks over I-5.

In south Sacramento, the city is extending Cosumnes River Boulevard to I-5 in Meadowview, at the site of the planned Delta Shores development. The $83 million road extension and new freeway interchange are being funded by transit tax dollars, federal grants and money from the Delta Shores developers, according to Way.

By next spring, city officials said they also plan to begin converting up to 30 percent of the bulbs in city streetlights to energy-efficient LED bulbs. That work will cost $4.85 million.

Other big developments either underway or about to be funded include a $3 million renovation of R Street between 16th and 18th streets in midtown; a $6 million pedestrian and bike bridge connecting Sacramento City College and the Curtis Park Village development; and a $7.5 million replacement of the Roseville Road bridge over Arcade Creek in north Sacramento.

The Department of Utilities is in the midst of its own large construction wave – a three-year, $270 million program funded by revenue bonds backed by utility bills.

The work includes a $170 million upgrade to the city’s water treatment plant on the Sacramento River that got underway last year and a completed $12 million wastewater storage facility in Oak Park.

Utilities crews are also constructing a $12.23 million water main in Land Park and should begin work on a $14.4 million water main replacement in East Sacramento in the coming months, according to interim utilities director Bill Busath.

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at