Workers in November completed the installation of a concrete median barrier on a one-mile stretch of Vasco north of the Contra Costa County line. Work was also finished on the widened of southbound Vasco to provide a truck-climbing lane, eliminating the gap in existing truck climbing lanes along the road.
Local officials feel that these improvements – one of three proposed stages of improvements on Vasco Road – will make for a safer commute between Brentwood and Livermore. According to a press release from the office of Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho, roughly 20,000 cars utilize Vasco Road every day.
“Anything we can do to improve quality of life in a safety environment for East County is quite a tribute,” said Brentwood Mayor and Contra Costa Transportation Authority commissioner Bob Taylor. “That is such an important artery to many East County residents.”
Taylor was one of many dignitaries on hand for a recent grand-opening ceremony. Also in attendance were Piepho, Pittsburg Mayor Ben Johnson and representatives from the offices of Congressman Jerry McNerney, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan and Supervisor Federal Glover.
“The installation of the concrete median barrier, in the section of road where the worst accidents have occurred, was a much needed addition to the roadway and I am thrilled it is finished,” Piepho wrote in a press release. “It is great that drivers are more aware of the need to drive defensively and pay attention on Vasco Road.”
Augmenting the work completed on the road proper were retaining walls, storm drains, wildlife crossings and a bridge widening.
The recently completed phase, which broke ground in May of 2010, cost $11.8 million, paid for by a cornucopia of sources including federal stimulus money, state Proposition 1B cash, Measure J funds and other local dollars.
Officials now turn their attention to the second phase, in which a concrete median barrier will be erected along a roughly 1.5-mile stretch of Vasco Road north of the recently completed work. Some of the planned projects for phase two include roadway widening to make room for the barrier, bridge widening over Brushy Creek and construction of retaining walls and storm drains.
The second phase of the Vasco Road Safety Improvement Project has been touted as shovel-ready and comes with a price tag of $14 million. The Contra Costa County Public Works Department is still looking for money to complete the funding for phase two. So far, the project has drawn federal stimulus cash plus funding from Proposition 1B and other local sources.