FAIRFIELD — A yearlong shutdown of Cordelia Road between Chadbourne Road and Hale Ranch Road for road renovations remains tantalizingly close to ending – as it has for months.
“We probably have less than a week’s worth of work there and we’re done,” Fairfield Construction Manager Tom Martian said.
But that situation has existed since fall 2013. The last bit of road repaving needs to be done on both sides of a railroad track spur that crosses Cordelia Road. Martian said finishing touches have been delayed by a disagreement with the railroad companies, which want railroad crossing improvements.
A Thursday meeting scheduled among city officials, the Union Pacific Railroad Co., the California Northern Railroad Co. and the California Public Utilities Commission could break the logjam, Martian said.
“That really is a critical meeting,” Martian said.
For now, travelers on Cordelia Road encounter a dead-end and a detour as they approach the construction area. Traffic must use Chadbourne Road, Busch Drive and Hale Ranch Road to loop around the area, adding about a 1½ miles to the journey.
“There is a clean detour to get around it,” Martian said. “But it’s not going A to B.”
Cordelia Road links central Fairfield and Old Town Suisun City with the small town of Cordelia, Interstate 680 and the Cordelia Villages area. Motorists often use it to avoid eastbound Interstate 80 when freeway traffic is heavy.
Fairfield in July 2013 announced it would close a half-mile stretch of Cordelia Road between Chadbourne Road and Hale Ranch Road for three months. Buzz Oates Construction is building three large warehouses there. As part of the project, it agreed to widen the road and add underground utilities, light poles, curbs and gutters.
The bulk of the project ended up lasting until October 2013. All that remained was to do repaving near the railroad track spur owned by Union Pacific. The road for a short distance on both sides of the tracks has been reduced to gravel.
Martian said the railroad companies claimed the city needed a permit to do roadwork within 25 feet of the tracks. City attorneys disagreed because the road existed before the railroad spur.
Fairfield has to work with Union Pacific on other projects, such as its train station project in the eastern city. To be a good neighbor and to keep the railroad spur that serves the nearby Anheuser-Busch brewery, the city decided to work with the railroad companies on the Cordelia Road railroad spur issue, he said.
The railroad companies said in February that they wanted $280,000 worth of improvements at the crossing, Martian said. Among them is building a median island on both sides of the tracks that would prevent motorists from driving around crossing gates.
Buzz Oates has financial responsibility for the road project, Martian said. Thursday’s meeting should clarify what work must be done at the railroad spur, he said.
“We’re now going to meet and say, ‘We have to get this road open,’ ” Martian said.
He credited City Engineer Kevin Berryhill with working to try to bring the matter to a conclusion.
Victoria Erickson would like to see the matter resolved. She and her husband Ray Erickson run Erickson Ranch produce stand at 2482 Cordelia Road, west of Hale Ranch Road. Victoria Erickson said customers are still coming to the ranch, detour and all.
“But it used to be such a straight shot to get there and now you have to go down side roads,” she said.
She’d like to see that straight shot along Cordelia Road restored.
Union Pacific and California Northern Railroad did not respond Monday to a request for comments.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.