Danville Express

Newsfront - July 20, 2007

Alamo sprucing up its freeway ramps

Committee 'adopts' exits to improve vegetation

by Natalie O'Neill

Alamo's freeway ramps will get an attractive makeover, thanks to Caltrans and the Alamo Zone 36 Beautification Committee. The committee is working with the Caltrans Adopt-a-Highway Program to repair irrigation systems and plant new vegetation at the Stone Valley Road and Livorna Road exits.

The committee will first need to pinpoint the problem with the irrigation, which hasn't been working for months, and then it can work to replace dead plants.

"We will identify the plants that died and replace them with ones that are more appropriate to the area," said committee member Pamela Lewis, who has been working closely with Caltrans on the project.

Lewis is currently in phase one of four steps, and she hopes to acquire funds from Caltrans to improve the water system. Her goal is to add a flow sensor to the irrigation systems, which would help detect future malfunctions. This could mean the difference in dry brown plants and full leafy ones.

"A flow sensor tells you immediately when something breaks. (Without one) you won't know until late in the game," she explained.

The Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway Program allows individuals, community groups and businesses to help maintain sections of roadsides. Past projects include litter and graffiti removal, controlling vegetation and planting flowers.

By September, the committee's goal is to get a cost estimate and then begin replacing plants. Members have begun discussions about acquiring financial help from businesses in the community.

Both Home Depot and Safeway would be an excellent fit, Lewis said, noting the project would benefit both the community and the company.

"They'll get a sign up right at the exit with beautiful plants," she explained.

After funds are acquired, the goal is to have a landscaping contractor map out and plant the appropriate vegetation. When the project is complete, Adopt-a-Highway will be responsible for its upkeep.

The committee chose to focus on Stone Valley Road particularly because it's not in the best shape it could be aesthetically, said Committee Chairwoman Alicia Watson.

"It needs work," said Watson.

The project began four months ago and Lewis said the committee is not yet able to speculate about a completion date.


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