Capital SouthEast Connector AheadNov 03, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Bill Bird
From Left to Right: Mark Rackovan, City of Folsom Public Works Director; Councilmember YK Chalamcherla; Elaine Andersen, Folsom City Manager; Derek Minnema, Capital SouthEast Connector Executive Director; Sue Frost, Sacramento County Supervisor; Ami Bera, U.S. Representative, 7th Congressional District; Kerri Howell (yielding scissors), Folsom Mayor and Connector JPA Board Member; Ken Cooley, State Assembly Member, CA 8th Assembly District; Pat Hume, Elk Grove City Councilmember and Connector JPA Board Member; Councilmember Sarah Aquino and Councilmember Mike Kozlowski.
Decades-long Dream Results in Ribbon Cutting Celebration
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - They believe in planning for the future. They believe in progress. They gathered Wednesday, October 26th to celebrate a ribbon cutting event and completion of a goal to serve the residents of Folsom, Rancho Cordova, and residents of Southeast Sacramento County.
That achievement is the completion of the Folsom segment of the Capital SouthEast Connector. It is a three-mile segment of expressway that is now open to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. White Rock Road from Prairie City Road to East Bidwell Street in Folsom has been transformed from a narrow and winding country road into a safer, higher-capacity four-lane expressway.
“Anything that’s worth doing in Folsom typically takes 20-years to get done,” said Folsom Mayor Kerri Howell during the ribbon cutting event. “We’ve had our challenges. Not everybody in the region believes that this project is as important as those who are here today.”
The new segment is part of a much larger four-lane expressway project that will eventually stretch for 34-miles. The new transportation option for commuters and bicyclists will eventually stretch from Interstate 5 in Elk Grove to Highway 50 in El Dorado County.
Congressman Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) grew up in the Inland Valley area of Los Angeles County and understands the importance of the connector project. The growth of the Southern California region was not well planned, he said. He watched as population growth turned sections of State Route 91 into “a parking lot.”
“Nobody wants that here,” Bera said during the event. “We need to think about the future. That’s what this connector (project) is all about. Where are we going to live? How are we going to move around? We need to visualize what this region will look like over the next 25-years.”
The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) first unveiled plans for the expressway more than two decades ago. The project gained even more urgency in 2006, when the cities of Elk Grove, Folsom, and Rancho Cordova, as well as El Dorado and Sacramento Counties formed the Capital SouthEast Connector Joint Powers Authority (JPA).
Sacramento County Supervisor candidate Pat Hume called the project an example of “smart planning.” State Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) believes the connector will eventually give motorists more options, removing traffic pressure from Highway 50.
“This project is an example of the kind of government work that people want,” Cooley said during the event. “It’s an example of working smarter, not harder. This roadway is like a regional auxiliary lane to get people off Highway 50 and reduce air quality problems.”
The new three-mile segment also includes new traffic signals that replace time-consuming four-way stops, improved intersections designed to reduce the number of accidents, bridges over Alder Creek, and a Class 1 bike and pedestrian trail.
“This project is so important to our region,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost. “It fills a major gap in connecting our rural communities to each other and the urban core. The Capitol Connector is an important asset to the residents I serve.”
Completed sections of the Capital SouthEast Connector include the Grant Line Road and Kammerer Road Interchange off State Route 99, the Grant Line Road Railroad Grade Separation Bridge over Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and the Silva Valley Parkway Interchange off US 50.