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Loomis, Rocklin to fight Caltrans

Communites band together against road closures
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Loomis and Rocklin are getting together and it’s not in a courtroom. Rocklin councilman Peter Hill calls it a “new era” of cooperation and Loomis mayor Gary Liss calls it “getting beyond litigation.” Whatever it’s called, many are saying it’s long overdue. Councilman Walt Scherer has asked that Rocklin and Loomis join forces to fight Caltrans issues facing both communities. He called for a meeting of the Borders Committee for Loomis, consisting of Liss, town manager Perry Beck, and himself, and representatives from Rocklin. In Loomis, Caltrans plans to raise three bridges over Interstate 80 that will close each road for a minimum of two to three months, including Horseshoe Bar Road. In Rocklin, Caltrans plans to eliminate the Taylor Road on and off ramps at Interstate 80 when the Highway 65 interchange is improved. The Rocklin City Council and Rocklin Chamber of Commerce oppose the closure. In an interview, Scherer explained his request for the joint meeting. "By working together with Rocklin, we can get Caltrans to look at the affects the closures will have on our communities. It’s not just about what is best for cars on the freeway, but how it affects the life of our communities and our businesses," Scherer said. Rebecca Sassenrath, a Loomis resident and business owner, said, “People should work together. When they do, it benefits everyone.” Liss said the first opportunity for Loomis and Rocklin to work together came recently as the two municipalities jointly planned the widening of Sierra College Boulevard between Granite Drive and Taylor Road. Loomis council approved the plans at their February meeting and Rocklin council approved them at their March meeting. “We’ve agreed to work cooperatively with Rocklin. The Sierra College Boulevard widening was the first test. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we can at least see where the trees end,” Liss said. Liss said the existing litigation against Rocklin projects continues. “Working with Rocklin on the street widening project is the first step in resolving the impacts of existing projects as best we can,” he said. At the Rocklin council meeting, Hill said, “This is a significant breakthrough in the relationship between Loomis and Rocklin. This is the first time we’ve come to an agreement on a project, doing it jointly. We’re both getting something that we want and we did it together. I think we’ve turned the corner.” In regard to future development, Liss said he hopes to build a better relationship with Rocklin so that issues are solved before they end up in litigation. One Loomis resident isn’t so sure. “Something will be done about the development along Sierra College Boulevard. I suspect it will involve courts and lawyers. Politicians never work together,” said Jeff Houghten.