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October 23, 2021

Scotts Valley Asks RTC to Fund Overpass Improvements

The city of Scotts Valley took a step forward in renovating a key community corridor—a thoroughfare that runs above Highway 17.

In a special meeting on Sept. 29, the Scotts Valley City Council voted unanimously to seek grant funds via the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) for the Granite Creek Overpass Roadway, Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project.

“It hasn’t had any attention in years,” City Councilwoman Donna Lind said. “From Scotts Valley Drive to Santas Village Road, that will all be improved. It definitely is needed.”

Public Works staff had previously identified the repaving of the Granite Creek Overpass (from Scotts Valley Drive to Santas Village Road) as a “need” in the 2017 Pavement Management Program Report.

Lind explained that there’ve been multiple accidents on Granite Creek that caused officials to elevate it in the repair-priority queue.

“We all agreed,” said Lind, who is now an alternate on the RTC after handing the main duties off to former mayor and current city councilman Randy Johnson.

She remembers how she used to see an older man who picked up trash on that roadway all the time. Lind wonders what happened to him, and says there are many good reasons to push for funding for the overpass.

“There’s weeds growing up in cracks on the pavement,” she said. “It really has needed (repairs).”

Granite Creek Overpass is identified in Scotts Valley’s Active Transportation Plan for both short-term and long-term upgrades.

Scotts Valley Police Department Capt. Jayson Rutherford agrees the work has to happen.

“That overpass is the only legal way for anyone to get from one side of Scotts Valley to the other side on 17,” he said. “And there’s only a sidewalk on one side.”

The retaining wall by the Carl’s Jr. is failing, he added.

“So, the roadway itself, the sidewalk, has been crumbling and failing,” he said. “Tons of students live over on the north side of Scotts Valley, on the far side, over 17. They use that. Me and my son rode across it on Friday for the Rolling School Bus (cycling promotion event).”

Rutherford adds that the overpass isn’t exactly quiet.

“The high school’s right there, too,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of collisions there. It’s just important that we have good signage there and the crosswalks there.”

Safety upgrades will include noise-emitting signage with a visual countdown function, according to Rutherford.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]

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