The Rancho Cordova City Council on Monday approved a new Highway 50 interchange despite widespread concerns from Gold River residents about pollution and noise.
The City Council voted 5-0 to approve the proposed interchange’s location between Sunrise Boulevard and Hazel Avenue and sign off on the city’s environmental impact report. Rancho Cordova officials say the interchange is necessary to address highway congestion and future residential growth south of Highway 50.
The council decision came after almost three hours of testimony from the public, most in opposition. The plan drew strong criticism from residents of Gold River, an unincorporated Sacramento County community of about 8,000 people north of the highway and outside Rancho Cordova limits.
The interchange would provide access only to areas south of the highway and not allow vehicles to enter Gold River. But residents of the upscale community said they were concerned it would drive additional pollution and noise their way.
Kristi Beckley, a Gold River resident, stood before the council with her two young daughters and said she worried about their future. She said they played at a park about 200 yards from the proposed interchange and would suffer from car fumes.
“Would you be comfortable with an interchange in your backyard?” she said.
Many residents said an interchange should be built at another location.
“How do you want to treat you neighbors?” said Gold River resident James Morris. “Build it at Hazel Avenue and be a good neighbor.”
Gold River residents said the city’s environmental impact report was flawed because it did not seriously consider the Hazel option. They cited a state law requiring that practical alternatives be considered.
Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, who represents Gold River, said Hazel Avenue might make a better option for an interchange because the county plans to improve the road, in part because it has approved two major developments on property owned by Aerojet Rocketdyne.
A Rancho Cordova planning official told the council that a new Hazel Avenue interchange was eliminated as an option because of problems it would cause Aerojet, including the loss of jobs. An attorney representing Aerojet said the company supports the interchange, called the Rancho Cordova Parkway, at Gold River. He did not offer an opinion on a Hazel Avenue interchange.
Several residents of Rancho Cordova and other communities said the parkway is needed to relieve traffic on Highway 50 and Sunrise Boulevard.
The city plans to use developer fees as the primary funding source for the $100 million project. The project includes a bridge over Highway 50 and the new four-lane parkway from the bridge to White Rock Road.
The Rancho Cordova Parkway interchange also would serve most of the city’s expected future growth area to the east, about 30,000 homes in the next 50 years. Last year, the city approved the 5,000-home Suncreek development east of Sunrise Boulevard and south of Highway 50.
Call The Bee’s Brad Branan, (916) 321-1065. Follow him on Twitter @BradB_at_SacBee.