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City to fight I-80 Taylor Road off-ramp closure

Local business leaders say proposed permanent closure would be ‘catastrophic’
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Interstate 80’s Taylor Road/ Pacific Street exit may be on the chopping block. Despite a recommendation from Caltrans to eliminate the Interstate 80 Taylor Road/Pacific Street off-ramp, Rocklin city leaders plan to join area businesses to fight the proposed plan. “What I want to do is just make sure that road doesn’t get closed,” said Rocklin Councilmember Kathy Lund. A recent Caltrans study recommended eliminating the exit to allow room for a new $280 million project that would seek to improve the I-80/Highway 65 connector. The project, in its early stages, would also widen the East Roseville Viaduct to add high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and a three-lane flyover connector between I-80 and Highway 65. “We have not received any funding or anything like that to proceed,” said Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger. “It is basically an idea and we’ve made a preliminary study report on it. It could take years.” The length of the project does not comfort businesses along Taylor Road that depend on the freeway access and the hundreds of thousand cars that reportedly pass by on a daily basis. “It would probably close our business,” said Meineke Car Care Center Manager Joey Tarantino. His family has owned the car care business for seven years and chose the location at the bottom of the ramp due to its proximity to the freeway. “We get a lot of our business coming from the freeway,” Tarantino said. Lund, along with fellow board members of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, has the opportunity to pick an alternative. The agency is expected to plan and secure the financing for the project and could begin that process as early as next month’s meeting. Cattlemens restaurant President Wayne Holloway said they intend to fight the measure. “We would definitely and vehemently be opposed to any further access restrictions to our property and the other area businesses,” Holloway said. Roseville Yamaha General Manager Sean Copelan said the idea comes as his Taylor Road business is rebounding from the recession. “Our sales are up,” Copelan said. “The last thing we want to see is to lose that momentum going into the next two years. The timing couldn’t be worse. Closing it would be catastrophic to us.” The Rocklin City Council is expected to draft a letter of protest to the closure proposal at its next meeting. Citizens who want to voice their concerns for the proposal have an opportunity to speak at the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency meeting Feb. 24. Transportation Planning Agency meeting When: 9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24 Where: Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 175 Fulweiler Ave. in Auburn The public is welcome to attend.