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Caltrans Finally Completes Red Hawk Parkway

Wed December 24, 2008 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp

Red Hawk Parkway in El Dorado County opened in December 2008, providing a connection between U.S. Highway 50 and the Shingle Springs Rancheria. The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians has been waiting more than 40 years for a public access road to its reservation, ever since the construction of Highway 50 in 1965. Previously, the only road available for its use was a winding private road, covered with speed bumps and prohibited from commercial use.

The new road is located between the existing Shingle Springs Drive Interchange and Greenstone Road Interchange. The new interchange features a flyover bridge — a signature four-span, post-tensioned, cast-in-place concrete structure — that carries eastbound off-ramp traffic into the Rancheria and Red Hawk Casino. Eastbound on-ramp traffic passes below two single-span bridges that carry east and westbound U.S. 50 traffic through the interchange. Westbound on- and off-ramps complete the interchange, providing for direct access to the area. The $45 million interchange was 100 percent funded by the Shingle Springs Band.

Prime contractor C.C. Myers Inc., Rancho Cordova, Calif., led the structural work, including three bridges and six retaining walls. The two single-span bridges are each 130 ft. (40 m) long, and the four-span bridge is 777 ft. (237 m) in length.

Howard Zabell, project manager of C.C. Myers, said that the on-site interchange workforce averaged between 40 and 50 people per day, with up to 80 people during peak construction. Granite Construction Company, Watsonville, Calif., was subcontracted to handle the earthwork, drainage and paving. Richard A. Heaps Electrical Contractor Inc., Sacramento, Calif., was responsible for the electrical and traffic signalization work. Reinforcing steel work was subcontracted to Harris Salinas Rebar Inc., Livermore, Calif., Malcolm Drilling Company Inc., San Francisco, installed the cast-in-drilled hole (CIDH) piling and Avar Construction Systems Inc., Campbell, Calif., provided post-tensioning for the cast-in-place bridge structures.

“Project development activities began in earnest in the summer of 2000,” said Caltrans Oversight Project Manager Steve Hetland. “During the process, the adequacy of the Environmental Document prepared for the project was challenged in court by El Dorado County and local groups who opposed having the casino within the county. They cited potentially significant impacts from the proposed interchange project in the categories of transportation, biological resources, air quality, noise and vibration, visual resources, cultural resources, hazardous materials and drainage impacts. However, in every case, measures have been identified to mitigate the impacts to a less-than-significant level. Caltrans published a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report in August 2006 to address the issues raised by the court. The state court rejected all legal challenges.

Eventually, an agreement between the tribe and the county was negotiated whereby the tribe would provide funds to the county for specific projects.

Although the entirety of the project is being handled by the tribe, Hetland was assigned by Caltrans to “oversee the work and verify that all requirements comply with State and Federal regulations.” Ground-breaking for the interchange took place in April 2007.

Zabell said that the project required movement of 170,000 cu. yd. (130,050 cu m) of earth, approximately 35,000 tons (29,931 t) of asphalt concrete for paving the ramps and overlaying Highway 50 and more than 8,500 cu yds (6,500 cu m) of structural concrete for the bridges and retaining walls.

A Bauer BG-40 drill rig was used to drill through rock for installation of the CIDH piling for all three bridges. Schwing and Putzmeister concrete pumps were rented from Conco Pumping of Concord, Calif. Additional equipment busy on the work site included Linkbelt cranes ranging in size from 14.5 to 90 tons (13 to 82 t), Caterpillar D9 and D10 bulldozers, Caterpillar 735 and 740 articulated trucks and five Caterpillar 631 scrapers.

“There were no lengthy closures associated with the project and travel was not restricted,” said Hetland. “There were a few Saturday morning closures for blasting early in the project, but no detours, shifts in traffic or significant delays.”

Red Hawk Casino opened on Dec. 17, 2008 near Placerville, Calif. Located off Highway 50, just 20 minutes east of Sacramento, the casino blends a full complement of gaming with the natural beauty of Northern California. Red Hawk Casino features approximately 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, six restaurants, four bars, and lighted, covered parking. For more information, visit

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