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Rocklin addresses construction woes

City reaches out to businesses impacted by roundabouts project
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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With road construction tying up downtown for the next few months, the city of Rocklin is moving to help businesses impacted by the disruption.

Construction crews on Rocklin Road are converting the intersections of Meyers and Grove streets into roundabouts. They’ll also soon start to reconstruct Pacific Street to the Loomis border and Granite Drive from Dominguez Road to Sierra College Boulevard.

“We know it’s a major inconvenience right now,” said Rocklin Economic Growth Manager Karen Garner. “Once it’s done, it will actually enhance things and be a draw for the businesses that are here.”

Barber Bill Adrian, who owns Rocklin Barber Shop at the corner of Meyers Street and Rocklin Road, is right in the middle of the $4.7 million roundabout project.

“Today, every single customer that tried to get in has been complaining they can’t find a way in. They are driving over pylons to get in,” Adrian said. “We are here and we are open.”

The city has posted links to businesses open during construction on its main website and is meeting with them to address issues.

“The city is open to helping,” Garner said. “We’re trying to help them any way we can. We’ve been talking about some other signage — some off-site directional signs down on Pacific Street that would essentially direct people to the back way to the center (near the roundabout).”

Construction crews are converting the un-signalized intersection of Rocklin Road and Meyers Street into a four-legged roundabout intersection.

The city of Rocklin posted on its website: “The project will improve the operational safety at this intersection, improve the traffic circulation and fa-ilitate the movement of traffic efficiently along this corridor without widening the streets.”

Work will also convert the signalized intersection of Rocklin Road and South Grove Street into a three-legged roundabout “to help current and future traffic conditions.”

Adrian said he’s looking forward to the finished product.

“I knew it was going to be a mess,” he said. “When it’s all done, it will be nice. Until it gets done, it will be a big mess.”

Garner’s message to business owners is one of cooperation and communication.

“For those businesses directly affected, we’ll let them do a little bit more than is outside of the normal,” she said. “If they think there is something else that might help, so long as it is within reason and not blocking any sight distance. Visibility is very important right now out there.”

Drivers will see raised medians, new street lighting and signage, as well as landscaping and new sidewalks.

Grove Street resident Maria Marquez is skeptical but hopeful the roundabout will be a good change for downtown.

“They’re spending too much, but if it improves old town Rocklin, it’s worth doing,” she said.

The owners of Hand Pickin, an antique consignment shop, moved from their Pacific Street location to Meyers Street and Rocklin Road and are committed to downtown.

“We’ve done everything to stay in Rocklin,” said partner Barbara Velasco. “We love Rocklin. I came to Rocklin to get that small-town feel again.”

For the new location in the heart of construction, she put up a banner, an A-frame sign and a couple of antique signs outside the building to get drivers’ attention.

“When you open a new business, it’s hard,” Velasco said. “If we try to put a brand-new sign up there, it’s going to get trashed with everything going on. We have to kind of put a hold on that.”

With 25 antique vendors, she said her presence on social media is helping too. She hopes to work with the city for an outdoor event.

“To me, the city has been very cooperative,” she said. “They’re letting us put an extra sign up. Maybe it will slow traffic down so they’ll see us.”

The roundabouts are expected to be finished by November. Construction on Granite Drive is expected soon.

“We have a lot going on,” Garner said. “There will be overlap on all those projects. It will be a bit of a mess. We’re trying to get as much done as we can.”