This article was originally published on May 20, 2014 by the Contra Costa Times.
By Eve Mitchell
PITTSBURG — A decision on certifying a final environmental impact report for a 1.7-mile-long road to relieve traffic congestion on busy Buchanan Road was continued until July 21 by City Council members Monday night.
The continuation is needed to give city staff more time to respond to last-minute concerns that have been raised by environmental groups about the adequacy of the report prepared for the long-delayed project.
The James Donlon Boulevard extension, which was first proposed more than 25 years ago, would be built south of Buchanan Road and outside the city limits.
The $53 million project is viewed by proponents as way to take commuter traffic off Buchanan Road while providing a key route from points east of Pittsburg to Concord and other areas of Central Contra Costa.
Save Mount Diablo and Greenbelt Alliance contend the extension will lead to more housing developments and destroy pristine habitat and views as a result of cuts into the hillside and grading of 2.1 million cubic yards of dirt.
The vote to continue the matter was 3-0. Council members Nancy Parent and Ben Johnson recused themselves because they live near a project alternative that calls for widening Buchanan Road instead of building the extension.
In other matters, a proposal to extend to e-cigarettes restrictions that apply to traditional cigarettes was taken off the agenda to give staff more time to close some loopholes. The matter will come back to the council for consideration at the June 16 meeting.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.