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Vasco Road Improvement Plans Moving Forward

August 2, 2008

Safety improvement plans for a deadly stretch of Vasco Road in unincorporated Contra Costa County are continuing to move forward, according to officials.

The Contra Costa Public Works Department and the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission are conducting an environmental review of the plan, said Christopher Lau, county public works department transportation engineer.

The plan, which is about 65 percent complete, includes construction of a concrete median barrier on a 5.5-mile stretch of the road through the Brushy Creek area just north of the Contra Costa-Alameda County line.

The southbound side of the road will also be widened to two lanes along the divided portion, according to Lau.

The agencies will be meeting Thursday to provide a progress report and a list potential funding sources to Assemblyman Guy Houston, D-San Ramon, who co-authored a bill with state Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, requiring the MTC to work with the county to develop the improvement plans. The final report on construction and maintenance of the median barrier is due Sept. 30, according to the bill.

Officials estimate that the project will cost about $31 million, Lau said. So far about $8 million in federal and county funds has been earmarked for the project.

The 15-mile, winding two-lane roadway has become a major commute corridor connecting residential communities in Brentwood and Oakley to employment centers in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin. An estimated 22,000 vehicles travel the road daily and that number is projected to increase in the next several years, according to the bill.

The 12-mile stretch of roadway on the Contra Costa County side has been the site of hundreds of collisions in recent years.

According to the California Highway Patrol, 16 people have been killed and more than 200 have been injured in crashes in the past six years.

However, according to CHP Officer Tom Maguire, only one fatality and 21 injuries have occurred on the roadway since October 2006 when the CHP established a double-fine zone and increased enforcement on the roadway.

Alameda County officials have already secured funding for improvements on the Alameda side of the road, according to Lau.

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