Caltrans’ Capital City Bridge Project
State Route 51 Bridge Deck Replacement Project, https://ceqanet.opr.ca.gov/2020100388/6
Good news! On July 18, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and Caltrans settled the lawsuit over Caltrans’ plan to widen the Capital City Freeway bridge over the American River. Caltrans agreed to do these as part of the project:
• Include a bike-ped facility as part of the bridge widening, with access to both river levees.
• Provide enhanced bat habitat in the vicinity of the bridge.
• Mitigate loss of salmonid habitat, such as adding shade trees along the river.
And, in the design and environmental review of the subsequent and larger Cap City Corridor project from Midtown Sacramento to El Camino Avenue, Caltrans agreed to address induced demand, and assess the structural capacity of the bridge to accommodate potential future light rail trains.
Here’s the background:
Caltrans issued a “notice of preparation” five years ago for an environmental impact report (EIR) for plans to widen from three to five lanes each way the Capital City Freeway (SR 51) over the American River from Midtown Sacramento to El Camino Avenue (3.4 miles). Caltrans never produced the EIR. Instead, last year, it released a “mitigated negative declaration” for widening the east side of the CapCity bridge as part of a “deck replacement” project.
From the start, the plans for widening caused us concern for the increased traffic this would induce, along with the related increases in air pollution and greenhouse gases. When we realized Caltrans intended to proceed with the east side widening with no true environmental analysis, ECOS sued. Attorney Don Mooney of Davis, CA represented ECOS in the suit. ECOS thanks those who contributed to fund the lawsuit.