Vasco Road safety panel eyes future of winding Vasco Road
- Published Saturday, March 8, 2008, by the Contra Costa Times
Vasco Road panel eyes future
By Hilary Costa
With the number of accidents on Vasco Road down dramatically in 2007
from past years, members of the Vasco Road Safety Task Force are
broadening their scope, looking at the long-range future of the
winding road that connects Brentwood and Livermore.
The task force met Friday and heard from transportation consultant
Bill Gray on what steps need to be taken to accomplish the long-term
goal of getting certain Vasco Road improvements on the radar of the
regional transportation commissions that can secure funding.
The nearer-term, safety-oriented projects of installing solid median
barriers and widening the road are already on the Metropolitan
Transportation Commission's horizon.
But looking further out, Gray presented a map that showed a realigned
Vasco Road that connects to State Route 84 at Interstate 580, about
5 miles west of where Vasco currently ties into 580. The realigned
Vasco Road would eventually become State Route 84.
The task force gave its informal consent to spend excess money from a
$14 million federal grant that was awarded to study another far East
County roadway, Byron Highway, and define the parameters of the Vasco
Task force member and Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Piepho said she
expected formal approval to do the study to come in the next few
weeks. The results will become the tool needed, Piepho said, to go
to the regional transportation agencies, including the Contra Costa
Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation
Commission, that can get the project funded.
Those involved know there is likely to be strong political opposition
to the idea, with people fearing it would spur growth and change
Contra Costa's current urban limit line. San Ramon City Councilman
and Contra Costa Transportation Authority Chairman David Hudson
said cities in Alameda County will likely protest because of the
possibility that a wider Vasco will put additional commuters on
"There are a lot of roadblocks in front of us -- pun intended,"
She added that the key to garnering support and, later, funding,
would be to find a way to build the road without incurring some of
The task force also brought up the issue of continuing to ensure
driver safety on Vasco Road, which is commonly known as one of the
most treacherous in the East Bay. The decrease in accidents is
attributed to increased enforcement by Livermore and Brentwood
police, which have been paid for by a public safety grant.
"You can pretty much guarantee there's going to be someone out there
watching and enforcing the speed laws," said Lt. Ben Tolero of the
Brentwood Police Department.
But the grant will expire in June, and in a sort of Catch-22
situation, it has become more difficult to secure future funding
because of the now-lowered accident rate.
Carolina Salazar, a representative with state Sen. Tom Torlakson,
said her office is looking into other funding sources to keep patrols
The Vasco task force will hold its next meeting in July.
Reach Hilary Costa at 925-779-7139 or hcosta@...