Construction workers began filling in gaps of sidewalk and bike lane along Highway 49 in Angels Camp last week – a project that will add 2,600 linear feet of new sidewalk to the city’s Main Street.
The project includes the widening of the pavement, bike lanes, curbs and gutters, driveways and minor drainage improvements consistent with the city’s Main Street Plan, which aims to better connect the northern portion of the city with its historic downtown and enhance the walkability and aesthetic appeal of Main Street.
Construction will be split into two sections, with the northern section on the southbound side between Highway 4 and Stockton Road, and the southern section on the northbound side between Bragg Street and Stanislaus Avenue.
Two-way traffic will be maintained for the duration of the construction period, which is expected to be completed by contractor George Reed Inc. in August 2021. Work will likely pause during the winter months due to weather.
“We’re hoping to achieve the community’s vision in our Angels Camp Main Street Plan,” City Administrator Melissa Eads told the Enterprise on Oct. 15. “We’ve received their direction for the context of their community, and we want to aggressively go after funding that helps build that vision, and we don’t want our plans to sit on the shelf. … I think that we have the right team, and I think that we’re onboard to start aggressively moving towards that reality.”
Funding for the nearly $2.85 million sidewalk and bike lane improvement project was provided by a competitive state and federal grant, awarded to the city by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), while additional transportation funding was provided by the Calaveras Council of Governments.
The Caltrans grant was infused with funds from 2017 state Senate Bill 1, a gas tax which allotted $100 million to cities, counties and regional transportation agencies to build or convert bike paths, crosswalks and sidewalks through the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP).
Due to their designated use, ATP funds can only be used for non-motorized transportation projects in Angels Camp.
“If we don’t put them to work in our community, then those dollars ultimately go somewhere else throughout the state,” Eads said. “So it’s good that we’re able to bring them to our local government (and) put them to work in our community.”
Eads continued, “This is providing us an opportunity to create more of an inviting vision and attraction to getting people to that historic downtown. (Caltrans’) focus is regional travel, but they’re partnering with us to provide that aesthetic.”
Although the design for the project was “pretty straightforward,” challenges did come in acquiring property from roughly 10 property owners in order to build the sidewalk.
“Right at the time of appraisals and acquisitions, COVID hit. All of the sudden, the challenge was we had a very strict deadline of May 1 to have all property rights secured,” project engineer Matt Satow with the Rancho Cordova-based Dewberry Drake Haglan said on Oct. 15. “It was certainly a risk for us, because we could have lost the funding.”
According to Satow, Destination Angels Camp Executive Director Debbie Ponte was instrumental in the property owner outreach effort, and the required signatures were obtained remotely by the deadline.
“The property owners were extremely flexible,” Satow said.
Due to existing plans and the city’s collaboration with Caltrans on the current sidewalk improvement project, Satow says “momentum” has been gained in other aspects of the Angels Camp Main Street Plan.
Additional improvements and expansions along Murphys Grade Road are expected to begin in spring of 2021 and be completed by October 2021. That project is projected to cost approximately $2 million and is funded through a combination of federal and local sources.
In the years to come, the city seeks to continue with its plans for active transportation improvements and the establishment of Angels Camp as a trailhead for outdoor pursuits throughout the region.
Another major component of that vision is the Angels Creek Master Plan and Trail, which proposes approximately five miles of trail stretching from the Highway 4 Bypass to New Melones Reservoir.
That plan was developed in 2012 and identified in the city’s 2020 General Plan as an Implementation Project.
Current planning and development plans for the City of Angels can be viewed at angelscamp.gov.