Grant funding slated to add bike, walking shoulders along Quincy Junction Road

This shows Quincy Junction Road as it goes from Highway 70 in Quincy near the high school to Chandler Road. A portion of the road has been widened to include special lanes for bicyclists and walkers. But that additional width ends before it reaches a hill with a curve. The route is now considered dangerous in some areas because it’s difficult if not impossible to see bicyclists in the area of the hill and the curve.

Although at least one Chandler Road area resident doesn’t think the project is extensive enough, a portion of Quincy Junction Road is scheduled for improvements.

A Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grant for more than $3.2 million will pay to add shoulders to Quincy Junction Road from Bell Lane to Chandler Road.

Plumas County Public Works was awarded the grant in March 2018. Construction funding is ready for 2023.

Public Works Director Bob Perreault was pleased to give planner Jim Graham praise and credit for coming up with a proposal FLAP would fund. Perreault introduced Graham to those at the Plumas County Board of Supervisors meeting June 11, and then turned the presentation over to him.

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Thinking back to a meeting with engineers who were pitching ideas that would fit FLAP criteria, Perreault said that Graham came up with the idea of continuing to widen the two-lane road. His was the sole voice pushing for the Quincy Junction Road project, he said.

Graham eventually wrote the grant application in the fall of 2017 and realized his success the following year.

FLAP’s goal is to establish improved transportation facilities that provide access to and are adjacent to federal lands. FLAP supplements state and local resources for public roads, transit systems and other transportation facilities, with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators.

Graham realized that hiking and bicycling are both growing recreational past times throughout Plumas County. He also understood that those coming to the Quincy area to enjoy either or both have some difficulties accessing some of the area’s opportunities.

The project application included those areas that are accessed initially by way of Quincy Junction Road. These include the Mount Hough Trail System, the Four Corners Off Highway Vehicle Racetrack, the South Park Trail System, the Plumas National Forest and Spanish Creek.

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What the construction project will do is provide 4-foot shoulders and widen the existing bridge over Greenhorn Creek to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.

The project is designed to help local economies as well as provide a good infrastructure to access recreation areas, Graham explained. “Nobody wants to travel down dangerous roads to get to where they want to go,” Graham explained.

But there’s a ways to go before construction can begin, Graham told supervisors in a slideshow presentation.

Supervisor Lori Simpson was the first to jump in with a question. This area is narrow with private property and big trees, “Has anyone got wind of it yet?”

The next steps include right-of-way acquisition from all property owners along the roadway. Graham said that he’s talked to a few of the property owners, but he needs to reach all of them. So far, Graham said he hasn’t heard any negatives. “People actually fly through here pretty quickly and can’t see around the corner (on the hill),” he said.

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And the utilities will need to be moved.

While much of the project is in Simpson’s district, toward the Chandler Road area it enters into Supervisors Kevin Goss’s district.

“I think it’s a good project,” Simpson said. She said that bicyclists would be happy with the bike lanes. “They’ve been asking for that.”

Perreault said they were ready to start utilities discussions right away. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative is the lead utility company in the area.

If the right-a-way acquisition goes smoothly, Perreault said they might be in a position to approach the federal government and move the timetable forward. In the scheme of things, this is a very little grant and project, he added.

Bob Zernich, a Chandler Road area resident, seemed to think the Quincy Junction Road project was a good idea, but he’s also concerned about the narrowness of Chandler Road and others in that area. “Somebody’s going to get killed there,” he said.

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Bicyclists, especially those from out of the area, don’t care that there’s traffic on the roadway, Zernich said. They’re busy looking at the scenery and not paying attention. “2023 is too far away,” he said.

“What’s the speed limit?” Simpson asked. It’s 45 mph along much of the road. “Maybe we need to lower the speed limit?”

“No one would pay any attention to it,” Zernich said.

The lead engineering agency for planning, design and construction phases of the project is the Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands Division in Lakewood, Colorado.