The far-east edge cities of the Bay Area were literally ground zero for the real estate bubble. But despite the real estate collapse and high gas prices, the zombie highway projects keep right on going:
State Route 239 is a legislatively approved but unconstructed route in the state highway system. The highway is to connect Brentwood to Tracy. The study area envisions a new roadway in the area currently covered by the Bryon Highway/J4.
SR 239 has moved from the concept phase to the early planning phase. The County has collected Federal earmarks totaling $14 million to study and construct the new highway. Even with reduced constriction cost $14 million will probably pay for the planning, environmental studies and possibly some initial right of way purchases. Additional funding sources will be needed for the actual construction.
Contra Costa County has selected a consultant team headed by Parsons Transportation Group to perform the technical work, economic analysis, public outreach, project delivery and consensus-building for the SR 239 Project, The work is expected to take approximately two years and will involve the City of Brentwood, City of Tracy, San Joaquin County, Contra Costa County, San Joaquin Council of Governments, Mountain House Community Services District, Alameda County, Caltrans, and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.
In case you haven’t heard of the “planned” community of Mountain House, the New York Times had a feature on that development. It is basically a ghost town, with the highest percentage of underwater mortgages in the country. Here we are in the midst of major economic downturn, and Contra Costa County is going off and planning a giant new north-south freeway to feed unsustainable developments like Mountain House.
What is really infuriating is the way this project has flown under the radar. There is no mention (that I can locate) in the MTC’s Federally mandated 2035 Plan. This is not uncommon for the MTC. Their lack of transparency has led to numerous lawsuits and Civil Rights complaints filed with the Feds.