Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By From page A3 | July 30, 2014

Cordelia Road Closure Update 7_24_14

A car makes a detour from Cordelia Road onto Hale Ranch Road, Thursday. A stretch of Cordelia Road has been closed since fall 2013 for construction of Buzz Oates commercial properties on Cordelia Road. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

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 [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 15 comments

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  • Mr. PracticalJuly 29, 2014 - 5:36 am

    Are there any adults involved?

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  • BobJuly 29, 2014 - 6:02 am

    How did buzz oats the biggest scab contractor get special treatment and closed a major road in Solano? For almost a year? Who's pockets got lined? We need to find out why the people that pay for these roads can't use them, but buzz can close them and use them as his personal access to allow stocking building material and trucks waiting to be unloaded Closed for almost one year, never read anything about it in this paper, I would have thought I would be news. Now the railroad is mad, next will be Bud, probably because they wanted to build there and buzzkill took it away Between this, a train station we don't need, elected officials making money off of land deals, Jim, bad Mayors, Pete, It's time to go, you've managed to ruin a nice place

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  • Mr. PracticalJuly 29, 2014 - 6:07 am

    Bob, you're all over the place and mischaracterizing the situation. And the road is in Fairfield. Suisun has nothing to do with this. Try decaf.

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  • JagJuly 29, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Right to work Bob, I bet they did the job a lot cheaper then your union buddies, oh by the way I see they are picketing the California Maritime Academy on Sonoma Blvd in Vallejo this morning in case you want to go stand in line,

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  • BobJuly 29, 2014 - 6:09 am

    Keep reading, buzz will leave the city hanging with a $280,000 bill to fix it, next question why didn't the railroad do it right the first time?

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  • Mr. PracticalJuly 29, 2014 - 6:20 am

    Bob, I doubt Buzz Oates has anything to do with this. It appears the road project was agreed to at the request of the city. If you read who's involved in the meeting, it's the city and Union Pacific. Not sure who's to blame there, but it sounds like UP could be holding the city hostage on it. My beef is that these decisions should have been made before construction started.

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  • Jason KnowlesJuly 29, 2014 - 9:12 am

    You do know Buzz Oates has been dead for over a year now, right?

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  • BobJuly 29, 2014 - 6:12 am

    Don't use coffee, not the point, bad politics, no one pays attention, they let this get right past them, with out thinking it through

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  • BobJuly 29, 2014 - 6:47 am

    That's correct My experience with this type of agreement leaves money on the table for contingencies like the tracks. I'm sure the tracks had been a sore spot since the start but was pushed aside in hopes it would go away. That's where the city went wrong, they should have had buzz set aside x amount for unknown problems down the road Since the road existed first and the rails installed for Bud and the railroad came after, why is there any question as to who needs to do upkeep and maintenance to that intersection? It's Bud or the railroad, unless city fathers didn't pay attention at that time, that's my bet. The part about a permit for work within 25' of the rails seems out of place considering other work we've all seen around the county, crews repair roads right up to the rails with out permits, permits take to long and cost to much for city's to take out. Easier to ask forgiveness then to ask permission

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  • PercyJuly 29, 2014 - 7:01 am

    Reads like an episode from Thomas the Tank Engine. Mr Topham Hatt needs to get on the right track..

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  • Rick WoodJuly 29, 2014 - 7:29 am

    Erickson's is worth the trip to customers in the know. Did you all get that part?

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  • BeeboJuly 29, 2014 - 8:15 am

    Another joke. Follow the money, that's pretty much it.

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  • concernedJuly 29, 2014 - 9:14 am

    I love how they omitted the death that occurred at this location. Although the driver was negligent, have a barrier in the middle of this straight away didn't help.

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  • Dexter FowlerJuly 29, 2014 - 9:42 am

    How about the city hires a consultant to figure this out!

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  • Victoria EricksonJuly 29, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    Thank You Barry for bringing the attention to the public. It is good for all to hear about the situation and how it impacts those that travel that road as well as Erickson Ranch.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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