September 18, 2007 > What happened to Highway 84 and Option 2?
What happened to Highway 84 and Option 2?
Turn back the calendar to April 2006. Finally, after years of debate and contention, the Fremont City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin work on an Environmental Impact Report of "Option 2," altering the path of the Highway 84 through Fremont. Little has been heard of this since then and TCV asked Fremont Transportation and Operations Director Jim Pierson to bring us up to date.
TCV: Is there any progress on Option 2?
Pierson: It took a while for ACTA (Alameda County Transportation Authority) to complete the process of formally changing their expenditure plan to spend any money on Option 2. They were legally bound to the original plan so they needed to make this change. This has now been done.
In the past several months, they have put out a request for proposals (RFP) to hire a firm to create the environmental document and preliminary engineering for Option 2. The firm of T.Y. Lynn, the same firm used to come up with the Option 2 alternative, has now been selected.
The consultant is now mobilized to hold "scoping meetings" with the public. Since this is a new environmental report, the process requires these additional public meetings. Since this project has been extensively reviewed in the past, most concerns have already been discussed.
TCV: How long will it take to complete this preliminary report?
Pierson: It will probably take 15 to 17 months on the environmental and engineering report so it will be late 2008 or early 2009 before these are complete.
TCV: If these reports are satisfactory to all parties, what happens?
Pierson: Then the project is officially approved. Construction would start sometime in 2011. As soon as the environmental document is approved, the ability to sell off land that is not involved in Option 2 is triggered. This may involve changing the General Plan and rezoning; much of this preliminary work may be done concurrently. The goal, from staff perspective, is to move quickly once the land is available for sale. We need $42 million to complete the Mission/880 interchange project.
TCV: Why is this so critical? Didn't Fremont negotiate a loan from ACTA for this construction?
Pierson: The guaranteed loan was from ACTA for up to $20 million. This is because if everything falls apart, ACTA would take money from their expenditure plan and divide it between interested parties. Fremont's share of this is $20 million. There is some latitude for other loans, but everyone is looking for money these days and it would be difficult. Also, it is better to have the necessary money sooner rather than later.
TCV: Can you refresh our memory of the Mission/I-880 project requirements after the freeway interchange is completed?
Pierson: There are three pieces to this although they all need to be done at the same time since the railroad runs through this area. Phase IB is the widening of Mission Blvd. up to Warm Springs Boulevard including the widening of the railroad bridges and reinstalling ramps to NUMMI and the other side of Mission (Kato Rd.). Phase II is a Warren Avenue undercrossing below Union Pacific Railroad tracks and the future BART line. The third piece involves Valley Transit Authority (VTA) since the rail south of Warren Avenue connects with Santa Clara County. A truck/rail transfer yard sits south of Warren Ave. and will need to be realigned.