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Roundabout, loader dumping (copy)

An excavator dumps aggregate made on site from the old roadway as part of the roundabout project at First Street and Highway 29 in Napa.

Daytime motorists going eastbound on First Street into the roundabout construction zone found themselves being dumped onto Clay Street instead of Second Street this week.

This new detour, which began Tuesday, should be over by Friday when eastbound motorists will again be channeled to Second Street if they want to go downtown, said Eric Whan, the city of Napa’s deputy public works director.

The detour alteration was necessary so the project’s general contractor, O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc., could construct new curb and gutter and put down asphalt, Whan said.

Motorists who traveled through the zone after work hours and at night were still able to transfer from First to Second, Whan said.

There wasn’t enough room to do this work safely and still have motorists directed over to Second Street, he said.

The city has received complaints about this week’s detour to Clay and has been making adjustments to have traffic on First, Clay and California Boulevard flow as smoothly as possible, Whan said.

“We ask that drivers have patience and allow for more time or even avoid the intersection,” Whan said in an email.

Caltrans, in partnership with the city, is building three roundabout intended to reduce congestion in the area.

The first roundabout at First and the Highway 29 on- and off-ramps may open by Thanksgiving, with the roundabout at First and California opening by year’s end, officials said.

When the roundabout at First and California opens, First and Second street between California and Jefferson Street will be flipped, with First becoming one-way eastbound into downtown and Second becoming one-way westbound.

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You can reach City Editor Kevin Courtney at kcourtney@napanews.com or at 707-256-2217.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.