Accident-prone Highway 49 intersection in Auburn gets safer

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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Glenn Scott has watched the accidents happening on a regular basis since opening Nevada Street’s Scott Auto Trim 25 years ago. He can see the carnage from his front window. Typically, a car will pull out from Nevada Street and make a left on the green light onto northbound Highway 49. At the same time, another vehicle will be crossing Highway 49 to Nevada Street from Marguerite Mine Road. The ensuing wrecks have often been serious. “It’s been accident after accident after accident,” Scott said Thursday. Over the last week, work was completed on a new, additional left-turn lane onto Highway 49 from Nevada Street and new traffic signals. Scott said the improvements – a joint project of Placer County’s Public Works Department and Caltrans – is already making a difference in safety and traffic flow. Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes visited the completed $270,000 project on Thursday and said he’s getting positive comments about the improvements. Another benefit of the two left turns has been better traffic flow off Nevada Street onto northbound Highway 49. Holmes said he’s been in lines on Nevada Street that had left him waiting through three light changes before being able to get onto Highway 49. Two years ago, Holmes made a list of potential intersection improvements and the Public Works Department worked with Caltrans to install new lights and design better traffic flows. Caltrans paid $130,000 of construction costs and the remaining funding came from traffic impact fees. The initial engineer’s estimate was for construction costs totaling $278,000. The contract price was $199,937 but was increased by $71,000 after it was determined that the existing pavement on Marguerite Mine Road and Nevada Street near the intersection needed to be ground down and replaced to install new traffic loops for the signal. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at