At the Wednesday meeting, members of the Rio Vista Business Alliance and Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce will hear more about the preliminary plans to widen Highway 12 and potentially expand the Rio Vista Bridge from two lanes to four. This major transportation project will affect Delta residents in Rio Vista, Isleton, Ryde and Walnut Grove, chamber president Phil Pezzaglia said.

The Solano County Transportation Authority recently directed the Solano Economic Development Corp. to prepare an economic study of the entire Highway 12 corridor, which will be affected by the expansion.

Economist Bob Fountain will speak with attendees about the project during the meeting at the Point Waterfront Restaurant.

"I would like to see whatever benefits the people and community and businesses of Rio Vista," Pezzaglia said. "I would like to see a lot of options and see the people of Rio Vista and the Delta involved in the decisions with the bridge."

Rio Vista merchants are fearful that the expansion could hurt access to downtown and harm business, chamber Executive Director Mary Peinado said. In addition to a larger bridge such as the one in Antioch, other proposals include an underground tube that would take traffic under the river, a tunnel and a relocated bridge on the outskirts of Rio Vista.

Rio Vista Vice Mayor Jack Krebs said that most of these alternatives are too costly and require shutting down river traffic during construction, which the Coast Guard won't allow.

"I believe that the majority of the sentiment in choosing a route was to keep it (the bridge) on Highway 12 going through town and have the bridge pretty much where it is now," Krebs said. "It is my belief that the final decision is going to be made by Caltrans, and I'm sure they will consider Rio Vista's recommendation."

An architectural firm with experience in these kinds of projects is also involved in the process, Krebs said.

"In terms of economic impact, Rio Vista is the only large collection of people between Highway 80 and I-5, and the impact on us is going to probably be the greatest," he said.

The analysis uses data to help with planning for the future of Highway 12 as an important regional transportation corridor, said Sandy Person, president of the Solano Economic Development Corp. She added that the study examines the current economic value of the corridor and potential future impacts on economic development, and bases its results on similar completed corridors throughout the state.

"This meeting is reaching out to the Rio Vista community to hear what their plans are and what their input is and how it is affecting their businesses," Person said.

Pezzaglia said that the 52-year-old bridge, which is on Highway 12, has withstood continuous traffic with more people traveling for work and leisure in the area. He added that traffic can back up, however, on summer weekends when more recreational vehicles are traveling on it.

The current bridge is the second. The original was built in 1918 and torn down after the existing bridge was built alongside it, Pezzaglia said.

"I think there will be many more meetings in regards to this issue, and I hope that everything works out for Rio Vista, and the people of Rio Vista will be taken into consideration during the decision-making," he said.

WHAT: Meeting of Rio Vista Business Alliance and Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce regarding Highway 12 expansion
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Point Waterfront Restaurant, 120 Marina Drive
INFO: Rio Vista Business Alliance and Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce