Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Heavy work on a major project to widen a busy stretch of Mono Way should begin next spring, with the project overall expected to be complete by next year.

Gerard Fuccillo, the city engineer, told the Sonora City Council during Monday's council meeting that planners are 95 percent complete with the project plans. The city should have final plans ready by the middle of August, with a contract being awarded by Oct. 21.

Fuccillo said that light work on the Mono Way widening will likely begin this fall, but major construction will probably not commence until next spring.

The project should be completed in the early fall of 2014, he said.

The project is estimated to cost at least $3 million and calls for making the stretch of Mono Way, between Greenley Road and Fir Drive, a five-lane thoroughfare. The city isadministering the project, but it is a cooperative venture between Sonora and Tuolumne County with the county covering 90 percent and Sonora covering 10 percent of the cost.

The project includes excavation, grading and the construction of retaining walls along the north side of Mono Way. It would also widen a portion of Mountain View Road and add left- and right-turn pockets at Greenley Road and Fir Drive.

City Councilwoman Connie Williams said the Tuolumne County Arts wants to get involved with the project, as the organization is interested in spearheading a mural project for the retaining walls.

In other news, the City Council:

• Approved a 2.38 percent increase in trash collection rates for city residents. The increase was requested by Cal Sierra Disposal, the local subsidiary of national refuse giant Waste Management Inc., which handles waste pickup in Sonora.

Cal Sierra's contract with the city allows for annual rate increases based on the Consumer Price Index. Under the new rates, a typical residential customer would pay $22.76 a month for refuse collection service. That would be up 53 cents from last year.

The new rates will be effective Sept. 1.

• Accepted a $5,000 grant from AAA to purchase new fire hoses.