A Bishop Public Works project to improve the Wye Road intersection with Highway 6 moved forward toward the advertising and bidding process at the July 22 Bishop City Council meeting. The proposed project will widen Wye Road about 540 feet west of the intersection and 360 feet east of the intersection to allow for the construction of right and left-hand turn lanes onto Highway 6. Currently, the lanes do not line up across the intersection, creating a traffic flow and safety issue, said Public Works Director Dave Grah.
The increase in width in Wye Road will necessitate the relocation of Southern California Edison (SCE) power poles to a property further north, recently purchased by the City of Bishop from a private landowner to facilitate the project’s completion. City Council granted the easement required by SCE to relocate the poles, allowing SCE to complete that work sometime in October, according to SCE estimates.
The Wye Road Intersection Improvement Project, which is expected to begin Sept. 24 and conclude sometime in November of this year, will go to bid Aug. 22. Grah reported that the project has about $600,000 in funding, thanks to money generated during the Kmart/Vons development for the purpose of increasing safety at the busy intersection.
A larger, long-term improvement project remains in the works with Caltrans, said Grah. “They’ve identified that intersection as an area of longer-term concern as growth continues in the Tri-Valley area,” he said. “Truck traffic on Highway 6 and Main Street is expected to increase significantly.” Caltrans is looking to reconfigure the entire junction, Grah said, describing the current, proposed options as “pretty dramatic.” However, he added, that project is as much as a decade out.
In the meantime, “I’ll start right now asking for people’s patience [during construction],” Grah said, to laughs from the City Council. “The project will have traffic impacts,” he said, with one-way traffic and flaggers at the peak of construction, but once completed, “it should increase the comfort, and more importantly safety, of the intersection.”