By Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County Supervisor
If you’ve been driving on Soquel near the Aptos Village recently you’ve noticed the work on the intersection of Aptos Creek Road and the surrounding area. This work includes important pedestrian improvements as well as intersection and drainage improvements. We’ve received a number of questions regarding the status of the project and, in response, County Public Works put together a list of answers to common questions that have come up from the community outreach over the last few months. Here are answers to the most common ones:
What is the general overview of the Aptos Creek Road project?
This project involves the construction of a new traffic signal at the Soquel Drive and Aptos Creek Road intersection, Railroad Crossing Warning System, video detection system at the Spreckels Drive intersection, signal upgrades and new fiber-optic improvements along Soquel Drive at the State Park Drive, Aptos Rancho Road, Spreckels Drive, Aptos Creek Road, and Trout Gulch Road intersections (for signal synchronization), as well as curb, gutter, and sidewalk improvements, new storm drainage facilities, asphalt concrete overlay, thermoplastic striping, and railroad track work.
What pedestrian improvements will be made?
Curb, gutter, sidewalk, and crosswalk improvements will be constructed along Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive. This new sidewalk will provide a continuous pedestrian path between southern Aptos Village and northern Aptos Village to Rancho Del Mar. Outside of this project, additional pedestrian improvements (including a new flashing beacon crosswalk) are planned for near Rancho Del Mar.
Will the signals be timed or connected to other signals?
Yes. Five traffic signals within the Aptos Village corridor are to be interconnected by fiber optic cable improvements and synchronized for traffic optimization through the corridor. Signals included are along Soquel Drive at intersections with State Park Drive, Aptos Rancho Road, Spreckels Drive, Aptos Creek Road and Trout Gulch Road.
Will there be dedicated left turn lanes?
Yes. New dedicated left-turn lanes along Soquel Drive will be constructed at the Aptos Creek Road and Parade Street intersections. A new dedicated left-turn lane on Aptos Creek Road will also be constructed for traffic onto Soquel Drive.
What is the timeline for construction?
Work started in mid June and is expected to continue through early November of this year.
What kind of delays can we expect during construction?
With traffic control consisting of one lane, two-way traffic with flaggers during construction operations, delay times can be up to 15 minutes. For the safety of all, caution should be exercised while moving through the construction zone, adhering to signage, and sharing the road.
Why isn’t construction being done at night to minimize delays?
Due to considerably higher projects costs for nighttime construction, work is taking place during daytime hours. Additionally, previous night work done at Trout Gulch did cause concerns from surrounding residents as the sound reverberates in the area.
How will traffic be diverted during closures?
The Aptos Creek Road railroad crossing will be temporarily closed during the removal of the existing railroad crossing and construction of the new railroad crossing. Aptos Creek Road traffic will be directed to Trout Gulch Road and Aptos Village Way as a detour route.
How will this project affect drainage in the area?
Surface drainage from Aptos Creek Road and Soquel Drive will be directed into the newly constructed storm drain system. Once in the system, runoff will flow into the Continuous Deflective Separator (CDS) manhole to separate and trap debris, trash, sediment, and hydrocarbons, improving overall water quality before entering Aptos Creek.
How was this funded?
The project is funded by Developer Impact Fees, State, and local funding sources.
How can I get up-to-date information?
Public Works intends to do regular press outreach in advance of any closures or changes in the project. But the best location is via the project blog at: aptosvillageimprovement.blogspot.com/ – A link to the blog site and the press releases can be found from the County of Santa Cruz Public Works webpage, http://www.dpw.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/
Who would I contact if I have more questions about this specific project?
The two best County contacts for this project are: Construction Manager Carisa Duran at 477-3955 or Resident Engineer Cristina Crocker at 477-3956
As always, I appreciate any feedback you may have on this (or any other County issue).
I’m maintaining regular updates on social media at www.facebook.com/supervisorfriend and during the shelter-in-place order, I’m hosting tele-townhalls with County and community leaders. If you’re interested in the town halls or just want to connect on an issue you can always call me at 454-2200.