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Kenwood’s Highway 12 Sonoma Creek Bridge slated for replacement

Kenwood’s Highway 12 Sonoma Creek Bridge slated for replacement

Future traffic projects, meeting times, SDC future, firehouse triangle on the docket for the NVMAC

By Jay Gamel

Two very old bridges on the Highway 12 stretch from Sonoma to Santa Rosa are slated for complete replacement starting next year, with work continuing into 2023. The announcement was made at the March 10 meeting of the North Valley Municipal Advisory Council (NVMAC) by Supervisor Susan Gorin and the county’s Transportation and Public Works director, Johannes Hoevertsz. While details are thin, at this point, assurances were offered that the public will have opportunities to weigh in on the projects before work gets underway. The recent traffic snarls at the Kenwood bridge site were caused by work on the gas mains that cross under the bridge.

“Caltrans came to us a year ago and said these bridges needed to be replaced,” Gorin told the council. “The Hooker Creek Bridge is 120 years old. We’re lucky it didn’t fall down before this. It is imperative that we get it fixed sooner than later.”

Gorin asked only that Caltrans hold off until the Boyes Boulevard Bridge replacement is finished. That multiyear project has caused a lot of traffic rerouting for the duration.

According to the Caltrans website project listings, the Hooker Creek bridge, situated between Madrone and Cavedale roads, will be replaced before the Sonoma Creek bridge in Kenwood, which is close to Hoff Road. Hooker Creek Bridge replacement is expected to start in 2022 and take a year and a half, though traffic should only be detoured through surrounding neighborhoods for 30 days.

“Caltrans wishes to minimize traffic disruption by completing most if not all of the Hooker Creek Bridge replacement before commencing construction of the Sonoma Creek Bridge,” according to the Caltrans website.

The Sonoma Creek Bridge was built in 1922 and widened in the 50s and 60s. “During a period of about 45 consecutive days, Caltrans will conduct one-way traffic control through the construction zone.”

The existing 46-foot-wide Sonoma Creek structure will be replaced with a 51-foot-wide precast/ prestressed type structure that will be 63 feet long. The new Hooker Creek Bridge will widen from 36 to 45 feet and be 16 feet longer than the current 24-foot bridge. Triangle study group formed

That pesky island across from the Glen Ellen firehouse has been a problem for many years, with neighbors upset about many private contractor trucks parking on it (especially during the heavy post-2017 fire reconstruction in the area). If it’s isn’t full of commercial trucks, it’s full of trash and often an eyesore at the very entrance to Glen Ellen Village.

Gorin suggested the Glen Ellen Forum might be better suited to host a future community discussion on what to do with it, though she did spell out what wasn’t going to happen to it.

“There’s limited things the county will allow,” she said. “Not a park, it’s a parking issue. The fire department and the county both need it for parking.” Plans to make a mini-park have been floated for years, but county utility vehicles from various departments have used it for decades.

SDC matters best kept personal

A discussion of developing an ad-hoc committee to provide input into the ongoing creation of alternative development plans for the lands of the state-abandoned Sonoma Developmental Center was tabled with Gorin’s suggestion that council members make personal suggestions, since the council has no land-use mission.

A suggestion that the SDC campus site could be included in the national “Superfund” cleanup program to offset demolition and rehabilitation costs for many of its aging budlings evaporated in light of Gorin’s observations that, “It hasn’t yet been determined what the level of hazmat is at the site. We need to find out what the alternatives are. The future will hinge on what the state can contribute to clean up or remediate. [The previous consultant] did not get into detail. There’s still a lot of investigation to be concluded about that site. Don’t get excited about any development soon. It’s going to take a very long time.”

Things happening

In other discussions, it was noted that the renovated building that houses the Garden Court Cafe on Arnold Drive will soon be completed and will sport an exterior mural by Maria de los Angeles.

The NVMAC now has a Facebook page.

The Emergency Preparedness ad-hoc group will be looking into forming neighborhood groups to react to future emergencies, and work out how best to reach out with a big message to get people involved. There will be more discussion of this at the next meeting on April 23.

New meeting dates set

Having recently clarified its name by changing it to North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council, which they did at their regular February virtual meeting, council members agreed to change the monthly meeting date to the third Wednesday of the month, starting with April’s meeting, set for April 21 at 5:30 p.m. (virtual meeting). The name change requires a bylaws change necessitating county supervisor approval, which could happen by mid-May. Until then, it is still NVMAC officially, but the meeting time is already in effect according to the group’s county liaison, Arielle Kubu-Jones. Kubu-Jones became Supervisor Susan Gorin’s District Director with the retirement of former director Pat Gilardi.

Future stuff

Gorin noted that community disaster preparation is a priority, and will invite the Office of Emergency Preparedness to make a presentation, as well as the county sheriff to discuss the NIXLE notification system. Vice-chair Daymon Doss urged everyone to look at the psychology behind disaster preparation.