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Opening soon: A 'new' road that's still 'old'


Photo: Sidewalk construction along the "new" Old Davis Road.

A sidewalk runs along the entire north side of this last section of the 'new' Old Davis Road, which provides more direct loop between downtown Davis and the south campus. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Related story: 'Campus core' is expanding for safety.

By Dave Jones

The last section of the “new” Old Davis Road is nearing completion.

“We expect to open the new roadway to traffic in mid-December,” said Kurt M. Wengler, senior project manager with Design and Construction Management.

The campus's new south loop will take cars off the section of Old Davis Road that runs alongside the arboretum waterway — freeing the old road for bicyclists and pedestrians only, taking away the danger they face when they share the narrow pavement with vehicle traffic.

Drivers, in turn, will get a more direct route between the south campus and downtown Davis. No more left turn, right turn, left turn going toward the city; no more right turn, left turn, right turn going toward the central campus.

The “new” Old Davis Road has been in the works for years. The first section runs alongside the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the south entry parking garage. Three years ago, the campus built an extension to the Hyatt Place hotel.

Now comes the last section: 1,600 feet between the hotel and A Street where it crosses the arboretum waterway.

Construction began in late August. About 1,000 feet of road, closest to the south campus, is brand new — sweeping across Solano Field. The last 600 feet, just south of A Street, is the former access road for parking Lots 5 and 5A; the contractor rebuilt this section to withstand the additional traffic.

The new road includes a four-way stop where drivers will enter and exit the parking lots.

From this intersection people will have easy access to Wyatt Pavilion (a venue for theater and other events) and Nelson Hall (home of the Nelson Gallery). Both buildings are situated along “old” Old Davis Road, but, for autos, the best access is from Lot 5A behind the buildings.

As part of the project, the contractor built a turnaround in Lot 5A, providing a place to drop people off and pick them up a short distance from the pavilion and the Nelson.

Arboretum improvements, too

Once the “new” Old Davis Road is open, the old route will be shut down and refurbished as a pedestrian and bike path. Even the pavement will be narrowed some.

A gate near Mrak Hall Drive, at the path's west end, will allow access for service vehicles and other authorized vehicles.

The project also includes an arboretum entry plaza to go with the new path, and easier ways down to the waterway and back up — via a stairway near the A Street bridge and an accessible path originating at the new entry plaza.

The new path, like the abandoned section of Old Davis Road on the north side of the Mondavi center for the Performing Arts, will be named Arboretum Drive.

Wengler said the entire project should be completed by about the beginning of February.

Earlier coverage

“Work begins on last link in south campus loop,” Dateline UC Davis (Aug. 24, 2012)

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