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Caltrans not releasing Brawley Bypass preferred option

November 30, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The California Department of Transportation has identified a preferred option for building the Brawley Bypass but it has not released a record of decision, a Caltrans official clarified Wednesday.

Gustavo Dallarda, a project manager for Caltrans, said naming the preferred option still is an important step in the project to loop Highway 111 north of Brawley.

During a recent meeting with Brawley officials Dallarda announced that Caltrans will focus its planning on what has become known as the Fredricks Road option.

The project, which would cost about $108 million, would move Highway 111 north of Brawley, where it would connect to what is now Fredricks Road west of the city. That road would then become part of Highway 86.

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Dallarda said by identifying a preferred option, efforts will move forward on finishing a final environmental document that will lead to a record of decision — the action that would bring the Fredricks Road option to fruition.

Dallarda said the record of decision could come within a year, and the construction of the project known as the Brawley Bypass could start in 2003.

The project is expected to be finished in 2007.

Dallarda said identifying a preferred option for building the project is a key "milestone" in that it will lead to the completion of all environmental work and the construction phase.

City officials said they are pleased Caltrans prefers the Fredricks Road option, adding other options considered that would have looped the highway farther north from the city could have hurt the city's ability to grow.

Officials said the Fredricks option would mean Highway 111 would be close enough to the northern edge of Brawley so that the city could expand to the highway, eventually annexing the land up to the highway.

That would allow the city to keep any sales tax revenue created by business development along the highway in city coffers.

>>Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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