Arcata City Council | Screenshot from meeting video



A large portion of Old Arcata Road will be getting a major makeover starting at the end of this month. During its Wednesday night meeting the Arcata City Council approved a nearly $6 million construction contract for the Old Arcata Road Improvement Project with local contracting company GR Sundberg, Inc. 

The project — which will make improvements to roughly one mile of Old Arcata Road, between the end of Samoa Boulevard and extending just past Jacoby Creek Road, and will include the construction of a roundabout at the Jacoby Creek Road intersection, repaving the roadway, adding bike lanes and extending the sidewalks — has been in the works for about six years and was finally approved by the council in 2022.

Since then the design was finalized and put out to bid, with GR Sundberg selected as the favored proposal. On Wednesday the council unanimously approved a contract with the company in the amount of $5,996,109 and authorized the amount to be raised by an additional $179,883 to cover any additional work as needed. 

City Engineer Netra Khatri explained to the council that the City had planned to only spend $4.5 million for the project, but the bid proposal estimated a higher cost. Since the City does not have enough money left in this year’s budget to cover the entire project cost, the remainder will have to come out of the 2024-25 budget. But, Khatri said, none of that money will be spent until the budget is adopted next July. 

Khatri added that it would still be best to move forward with the project now, because if the City were to wait until next year, the costs will only increase even more. 

Rendering of the proposed roundabout at Old Arcata Rd and Jacoby Creek Rd intersection

With the contract approved, Khatri said, work will start toward the end of September and the contractors will have 150 working days to complete the project. The company will likely take a winter suspension and return to work on the project in the spring or summer. Khatri said that the project is expected to be complete before the end of 2024. 

There was not very much discussion among the councilmembers, who seemed very eager to move forward with the long-planned improvements to Old Arcata Road. 

“Thank you to our city engineer and all of the city staff for their hard work on this project and getting it done over many years,” Mayor Sarah Schaefer said after the vote. 


In other business, the council also said a heartfelt farewell to Nancy Diamond, Arcata’s longtime city attorney. 

Diamond during the meeting

Diamond informed the City of her plan to retire earlier this year, and city staff put out a request for proposals for city attorney services and received five responses. After the council formed a subcommittee to review the different firms and conducted a series of interviews, the subcommittee recommended White Brenner LLP Law Firm. On Wednesday night the council approved an agreement to obtain legal services from the firm. 

Before hiring the new attorneys, the council thanked Diamond for more than 20 years of service and councilmember Alex Stillman even presented Diamond with an honorary key to the City. 

“I wanted to have an opportunity to be able to thank Nancy Diamond for being the city attorney for the City of Arcata,” Stillman said during the meeting. “And I wish to give her the key to the City in appreciation of the services to this community between 2001 to 2023.” 

“I am speechless,” Diamond replied. “A key to the City? I didn’t even know there was such a thing! It’s been just such a pleasure. This is bittersweet, but I love the new city attorney that will be coming in and I think you’ll all enjoy working with them.”