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Is heavy truck traffic sinking mobile homes in Lathrop?

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POSTED January 13, 2010 3:12 a.m.
LATHROP – Some of the homes at Camino Real Mobile Estates in Lathrop are sinking, and residents are pointing the blame at the heavy truck traffic on Harlan Road and the poor condition of the road.

The complaints are coming especially from those whose homes back up to the fence along narrow two-lane Harlan Road. They said they are being subjected to a daily heavy dosage of shaking from the constant movement of traffic only a few feet away from their properties.

Sinking mobile homes are not their only problem though. The concerned residents are also complaining of structural damages resulting from the constant rattling of their homes when the heavy truck and trailers zoom past Harlan Road just outside their back windows and walls.

In an effort to address these problems, concerned citizens in this 165-unit family-owned mobile home community are planning to schedule a meeting to discuss these issues. Resident Ruben Sandoval, the spokesman of the concerned residents, is spearheading this effort and has contacted all residents to get a consensus on the meeting date.

Sandoval said that while those located along Harlan Road are mainly the ones affected by the truck traffic problem, he said mobile home owners just across the street have also reported the same complaints.

Sandoval said the traffic noise and vibrations caused by the constant truck traffic are compounded by the poor condition of the pavements at this segment of Harlan. Speeding trucks especially those with empty trailers are bad enough, he said, but the shaking and the noise that they generate are compounded when they hit the many pot holes and bumps on the uneven pavement.

The loud noise that echo when these large truck trailers bounce off the cracks and potholes on the road are particularly annoying, if not downright irritating, between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. when people are fast asleep and are rudely awakened by the loud noise, Sandoval said.

“They get awakened at 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock – all hours of the night – and sometimes it’s hard for them to go back to sleep, so when they go to work the next day, for those who are working, they are grouchy. And that can be unhealthy for you, too,” Sandoval said.

Several affected homeowners have had to “dig dirt out from under the skirting (of their mobile homes) in order to keep it from bending as the mobile home settles lower into the soil,” as a result of the constant rattling, Sandoval noted.

That’s just part of the sinking problem, he pointed out. The mobile homes are installed in a slanting position, “with the back end usually higher than the front end so water can easily run to the drain,” he said. The homes sit on blocks on the dirt, and because of the constant vibrations from the nearby road, “the homes have leveled off” causing the drainage problem, Sandoval explained.

Sinking homes not the only problem
Sandoval said some homeowners have also complained about light bulbs getting loose from their sockets because of the constant shaking.

“Every month or so, they have to tighten them up because they get loose,” he said.
Another problem involves the windows. The constant shaking has loosened the weatherproofing sealants around the windows of the homes, Sandoval said.

All these problems cost money to correct them, he said. The homeowners could do the work themselves, or hire somebody “to dig out the skirting (for the sinking homes) but that costs money which, for some of them, they don’t have.”

Most of the truck traffic in this section of Harlan Road between Louise Avenue and Lathrop Road are generated by Joe’s Travel Plaza, a truck stop with a convenience store that also features Subway and TCBY sit-down restaurants inside. The Joe in the truck stop’s name is in honor of the late longtime Lathrop pioneer Joe Takeshita who, along with wife Miyo, owned and operated the Tokyo Joe’s restaurant, market and gas station at this same spot.

Harlan Road was the old Highway 50, and before that, the historic Lincoln Highway which is now the frontage road on the east side of Interstate 5.

Sandoval said about 20 to 30 mobile homes back up against the fence on Harlan Road and are directly affected by the traffic problem.

He stressed that the meeting that he is trying to organize and is hoping to hold at the mobile home park’s club house is not being spearheaded by the owners and management of Camino Real. He said about half a dozen homeowners have already responded.

“Residents of a mobile home park have the privilege to have meetings at the mobile home park’s clubhouse about issues concerning residents,” he said.
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