Some El Dorado County Residents Wary of Route for Highway 49
Sacramento Bee, By: Cathy Locke
Date: May 3, 2009
A new route for Highway 49 in El Dorado County might improve safety and traffic flow, but some residents fear it also would increase pressure to develop rural lands.
Built to link California's Gold Rush towns, Highway 49 between Coloma and Placerville follows an old wagon road alignment. It also winds through Placerville's narrow residential streets and bisects Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma.
Although it provides a scenic route for leisurely travel, transportation officials say the highway is not adequate to handle increasing traffic loads. A study was recently launched to identify alternative alignments for an approximately 13-mile stretch between Coloma and the town of El Dorado. "If you drive through the city of Placerville, you understand why it would be key to get alternatives," said Carl Hagen, the El Dorado County Transportation Commission chairman and a Placerville city councilman. Officials stress that the realignment study is part of a long-range planning process. Construction of a new road or designation of a new route using existing roads won't occur for several years...