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Road work ahead

Published: Friday, September 7, 2012 at 8:58 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 7, 2012 at 8:58 a.m.

Drivers in and around Petaluma can expect road closures, detours and delays over the next several weeks as a number of city and regional projects on key roads get underway in Petaluma.

In addition to ongoing work on the East Washington Street interchange, a water main on East Washington Street and the Target shopping center construction, work is now underway to repave a mile-long section of Sonoma Mountain Parkway. Two more projects are about to get going as well: The Petaluma Boulevard South Road Diet and SMART train railroad crossing upgrades.

“Plan to take extra time getting across town,” advised Senior Civil Engineer Erica Ahmann Smithies, adding, “we'll try to get the work done as quickly as possible.”

Here are the main projects to be aware of.

Sonoma Mountain Parkway

Repaving and other improvements on a mile-long stretch of Sonoma Mountain Parkway between Wyndham Way and Campus Circle South have already begun and will continue through the end of September. The roughly million dollar project is funded by a federal grant.

This week, the work shouldn't include too many traffic disruptions, according to Ahmann Smithies.

For the following week, starting on Sept. 10, paving work will require lane closures and traffic control.

Then, starting on Sept. 24, road striping work could lead to more traffic control.

Petaluma Boulevard 'Road Diet'

Work on the much-discussed Petaluma Boulevard South “Road Diet” will begin on Sept. 10, reducing the number of lanes between East Washington and D Street from four to two. Other changes will include a center left-hand turn lane and a transition to E Street.

The change is intended to make for wider lanes to accommodate driving and parking, which is supposed to make travel safer for bicyclists and pedestrians as well.

Completing the project, funded mostly through a federal grant, will require updating bicycle markings, changing traffic signals, adding audible pedestrian crossings, removing traffic striping, installing handicap-accessible curb ramps and more.

The project will occur in phases, with the most disruptive work to be done at night in order to keep the impact on local businesses and drivers to a minimum, Ahmann Smithies said.

Sidewalk and street signal work will take place during the day between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., with paving and striping being completed at night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The contractor, Ghilotti Bros., will be required to maintain pedestrian access to and from businesses or residences at all times.

Signs will be posted three days in advance if parking will be impacted in a given area.

Traffic could be reduced to one lane in each direction as sidewalks, curb ramps or traffic signals are worked on, Ahmann Smithies said, but the city will try to minimize how often this has to happen.

Work will likely continue until Nov. 9.

For more information on the road diet project, go online to http://cityofpetaluma.net/pubworks/road-diet-project.html.

SMART Crossings

At around the same time, SMART will begin updating its railroad grade crossings as it prepares for the new commuter train. The work will involve removing old tracks and installing new ones at numerous railroad crossings in Petaluma in September and October. The times are subject to change, but here is the most recent update on what is expected in the weeks ahead:

Friday, Sept. 7 at 9 p.m. — Saturday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m.: Railroad crossing at Main Street/Woodward Avenue in Penngrove closed.

Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 6 a.m. — Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.: Railroad crossing at Corona Road closed.

Tuesday, Sept. 18 — Thursday, Sept. 20: Railroad crossing at Payran Street closed.

Saturday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. — Sunday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m.: Railroad crossing at Southpoint Boulevard closed.

Tuesday, Sept. 25 — Thursday, Sept. 27: Railroad crossing at Washington Street closed.

Monday, Oct. 1 — Wednesday, Oct. 3: Railroad crossing at D Street closed.

Police and SMART are encouraging drivers to plan alternate routes and allow extra travel time. There will be electronic message boards at each crossing and detour signs showing alternate routes.

To learn more about the road closures due to railroad crossing work, go online to sonomamarintrain.org or call the construction information line at 855-312-7444.

(Contact Jamie Hansen at jamie.hansen@arguscourier.com.)

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