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Public workshops set to discuss final draft of county's transportation plan

May 24, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

A final draft of projects for the county's 20-year transportation plan will be available for public comment at workshops next week.

Local governments and the California Department of Transportation sponsored similar workshops last fall that showed the public places highest priority on transportation improvements closest to the Mexico border.

Another highway project, Westmorland's Center Street bypass, is being scrutinized because a little girl was killed in March as a result of truck traffic through the city.


County Public Works Director Tim Jones said a consultant just completed a study of a four-lane Center Street project from Highway 86 to the outside of town south of Baughman Road.

The $3.2 million project studies how to solve issues on Center Street including traffic counts, pavement and traffic signals, Jones said.

Who owns Center Street is a point of debate between the city and the county. Another issue is that a bypass would take trucks out of the city but it also would take truckers' money out of the city, he said.

The Forrester Road corridor is one of the proposed projects scheduled to be completed by 2012.

The top six proposed projects scheduled to be completed by 2012 are:

· Highway 98 corridor improvements from state Route 111 to Dogwood Road;

· Highway 111 improvements from Highway 98 to the point of entry to Mexico;

· Highway 111 improvements to a four-lane freeway from Highway 98 to Interstate 8;

· Highway 111 upgrade to a four-lane highway from Highway 78 to Highway 115;

· New east-west corridor from Aten Road to Keystone corridor;

· New north-south Forrester Road corridor from Highway 78/86 to I-8.

There are a total of 17 proposed projects.

The original workshops were to get input on what the public would like to see in the next 20 years. Community leaders then worked with the plan and the public has a chance to get a final look and give more input, Jones said.

"We want to make sure we don't overlook anything," he said.

The public's comments on the draft plan will go to the Imperial Valley Association of Governments and Caltrans to be finalized. Then the document will go to Los Angeles-based Southern California Association of Governments, he said.

Jones said he hopes to have a final plan this summer.

Long-term transportation planning such as this helps the county get discretionary transportation money, he said.

The workshops are a joint effort of Caltrans, the Imperial Valley Association of Governments and SCAG.

Three workshops are scheduled next week:

· Tuesday in the Brawley senior nutrition center, 575 J St.;

· Wednesday in El Centro at the Employment Development Dept., 1550 Main St.;

· Thursday in Calexico at City Hall council chambers, 608 Heber Ave.

All workshops are from 4-7 p.m.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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