City, Caltrans hit impasse over bypass

March 07, 2002 12:00 am

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Angels Camp officials and Caltrans have yet to agree on how the city will take over a portion of Highway 4 as part of the long-awaited Highway 4 bypass project.

At issue is what portions of Highway 4 Caltrans will give back to the city, and what condition those portions will be in. The pending deal is called a relinquishment agreement

After building the Highway 4 bypass, the old stretch of Highway 4 now going through town is given up to the city. But until an agreement is reached, the bypass project cannot proceed.

When the Angels Camp City Council members met Tuesday, they called for a committee to return to the April 2 meeting with a proposed agreement.

The move followed a two-hour afternoon workshop on the latest draft of the relinquishment agreement.

The committee includes City Engineer Gary Ghio, City Administrator Tim Shearer, City Attorney Richard Matranga and City Council members Dorian Faught and Curley Middleton.

A sticking point in the arrangement, expressed at Tuesdays workshop, is a 1946 bridge at the south end and in need of repair that Caltrans plans to give the city along with the old highway.

Another worry was that the bypass would reroute only part of downtowns traffic.

The bypass Caltrans has planned re-routes only Highway 4 traffic coming from the valley and heading east to Murphys, Big Trees, Bear Valley and other mountain areas. City officials wonder if that plan will sufficiently reduce traffic through the historic downtown area.

Id like to see some car counters after the bypass is built and see if traffic has changed, Middleton said.

Calaveras County Supervisor Tom Tryon, whose district includes Angels Camp, attended the first hour of the workshop and expressed frustration over the proposed bypass.

The point was to gain control of the downtown area and this doesnt do it, he said.