A high-profile project at Treat Boulevard and Clayton Road is behind schedule, and that’s not sitting well with Concord city engineer Robert Ovadia. “We understand the inconvenience it is causing and apologize to the residents,” Ovadia said.
The road reorganization started last year and was supposed to be a relatively easy project. However, Ovadia says utility problems and Mother Nature got in the way.
“There were a variety of reasons for the delay,” he said. “The good news is that the contractor is back on site and remobilized his efforts on April 3.”
The project involves lane changes and traffic light installations. The city is widening Treat Boulevard to add another left turn lane, so there will be two dedicated left turns onto Clayton Road.
There will also be a right turn lane.
The project calls for removing the “pork chop” island in front of the Safeway shopping center and making a regular curve, as well as replacing traffic signals.
Crews ran into trouble when placing utility lines underground, which is a larger job than anticipated. The city is at the mercy of the timetables of PG&E, cable companies, the telephone company and other utilities.
In addition, city contractors found underground storage tanks that were full of contaminated material that had to be removed. Then the rains came, delaying the work further.
The wet weather has slowed a number of projects in Concord, from other road work to playground installations.
“We’ve had several years of no rain, and that quickened the timetable on many projects,” said Mayor Laura Hoffmeister. “But this year is different. The weather conditions are what they are and we can’t change them.
“But I know how frustrating that can be for drivers and residents in the area,” Hoffmeister continued. “I drive that way often, and I get frustrated.”
She says the Treat project was supposed to be completed by sometime this spring. “Once it’s done, it will be great,” she said. “These delays will be just a memory.”
Like Ovadia, the mayor is confident the project will be finished by September – after all, it can’t rain that long. And with summer school vacations, there won’t be as much traffic on the road, so the work should have less of an impact.
Until then, the city – and drivers at Treat Boulevard and Clayton Road – will weather the storm.