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Make way for new and improved Hutchison Drive


By Dateline staff

Hutchison Drive before ...

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Photos by Dave Jones and Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

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Fencing went up Monday (March 18) and the first road closure is scheduled for next week as construction begins on improvements to the Hutchison Drive corridor in the central part of campus. The project will bring new sidewalks, bike parking, seating walls, landscaping and more.

For the rest of this week, the contractor plans to do preliminary work that includes concrete and pavement cutting, bus shelter and bike rack removal, and minor excavation to verify the location of utilities.

The road closure, March 25-29 (coinciding with spring break), between California Avenue and the east gate, will give crews the room they need to do excavation along the north side of Hutchison.

Pedestrians will continue to have access along the south sidewalk, while Unitrans will reroute its buses for the week. See below for Unitrans details, including a bus stop relocation that will be in effect for the duration of the construction project.

Hutchison Drive is due to be open again by Saturday, March 30, for buses and other authorized vehicles. And students are sure to be riding bikes again on Hutchison come Monday, April 1, the first day of instruction for the spring quarter.

Construction work will take place off the street, on the north and south sides of Hutchison, through spring quarter. Come summer, Hutchison will be closed for about two and a half months for street reconstruction and some straightening (around a cork oak tree between Shields Library and Olson Hall).

Martin Brothers Construction Inc. of Sacramento won the contract with a bid of $2.48 million, the lowest of three bids that came in. The project is due for completion by the start of fall quarter.

Unitrans: March 25-29

Break service is in effect all week, including Friday the 29th, which is a university holiday (Cesar Chavez Day). But Unitrans announced changes to three routes to accommodate the Hutchison Drive closure. See map.

  • A and L — Rerouted to the Memorial Union Terminal instead of the Silo Terminal.
  • W — It will continue to serve the Silo, but will follow a longer route via Old Davis Road westbound and Shields Avenue eastbound.

Break service: All lines operate less frequently; night service limited to the G, M, P and Q lines (no night service on Friday).

Bus stop relocated

The westbound Hutchison Drive bus stop on the south side of Shields Library has been relocated for the duration of the corridor improvement project. The new location is about 100 yards east on Hutchison, at the UC Davis-UC Berkeley shuttle stop.

Hutchison Drive Corridor Project

As announced last year, the makeover is costing an estimated $3.7 million, of which federal and state grant money is covering nearly $1.5 million.

The grant is earmarked for “traffic enhancement” — making roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, and beautifying the streetscape at the same time. Here are some highlights from this portion of the project:

  • The narrow curve in front of the art-music-theatre district will be widened and straightened — though not completely — and the dip filled in.
  • A bike parking lot on the east side of Rock Hall (formerly Chem 194) will replace bike parking in the street.
  • The sidewalks will be widened and pushed back from the street, with landscaped buffers to separate pedestrians from buses and bicyclists. The asphalt sidewalks will give way to concrete.
  • Curved seating walls will go on both sides of Hutchison Drive in front of the Student Community Center and Rock Hall.

UC Davis is putting in a little more than $2.2 million, mostly for work that the university is piggybacking onto the grant-funded project. The extra work includes deferred maintenance (rebuilding about 1,250 feet of Hutchison Drive and putting in a larger pipeline for storm drainage), and building a passenger drop-off zone and car turnaround in the vicinity of the planned Music Instruction and Recital Building.

See the official road closure announcement, including map.

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