RIO VISTA -- City leaders are collaborating with other agencies to take first steps to improve the safety of a dangerous intersection along Highway 12 that is prone to rear-end collisions.

This week, the Rio Vista City Council voted to develop an agreement with the Solano Transportation Authority to create environmental documents that will prompt Caltrans to start designing an improved intersection at Highway 12 and Church Road. The project is necessary because there is an offset between Church and nearby Amerada Road and no turn pockets in the bustling intersection, according to Rio Vista Public Works Director David Melilli.

"Amerada and Church don't align perfectly. If you are trying to turn, you are sticking out there," Melilli said. "It is the goal of the city to finally correct this."

Among the options to improve its safety are a four-way signal light or a roundabout with left turn lanes and acceleration/deceleration lanes for right turns, Melilli noted.

"We need to enhance and resolve that intersection," he said. "We have had some really bad accidents out there. It has been a bad intersection for a long time."

For more than a decade, the city has been pushing for these safety improvements at the intersection because Church is not parallel to Amerada and it causes vision limitations for drivers. Highway 12 Committee Chair Jan Vick said that traffic often backs up there when a vehicle wants to turn.

"It is very much on the radar of Caltrans," Vick said. "If you are on Church and you want to turn towards town, it is a hassle."


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Rio Vista City Councilman Jim McCracken said that Highway 12 and its surrounding areas need major improvements, especially considering the large number of seniors who live in Rio Vista and drive these flawed roadways and the highway daily.

"There are a lot of accidents waiting to happen because of the way it is set up. It is not conducive to the traffic that is using it and it needs to be improved immensely to be safe for our public," he said. "We want to take precautions and set this up to prevent something major from happening."

According to Melilli, the project is likely several years from being completed. After the environmental studies are done and the surrounding property owners are in agreement with the realignment and safety improvements, design, bidding and construction would follow.

In 2010, Caltrans and the Solano Transportation Authority completed an initial study of the proposed project. According to city leaders, the city will contribute $500,000 from its traffic impact fee fund for the environmental documents to be completed as a first phase of the project.

Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.