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Will city bridge the gap?

Atherton Drive, Union Road interchange recommended as top road project priorities

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Will city bridge the gap?

The proposed diverging diamond interchange similar to this one that’s planned for Union Road at the 120 Bypass could get the funding needed to give it the green light.

Photo contributed/

POSTED November 3, 2017 1:27 a.m.

In a bid to maximize investment to lure commercial investment and fulfill a long-standing commitment to South Manteca residents to try and take traffic pressure off Woodward Avenue, municipal staff is recommending that the Atherton Drive gap between Union Road and Airport Way become the top priority among six identified major road projects.
Staff also has devised a way work can go forward on the Union Road at 120 Bypass interchange upgrade as the No. 2 project by tapping into anticipated revenue from increased growth fees over the next two years.
The recommendation before the City Council when they meet Tuesday — should elected leaders act on it — has the potential of being a watershed decision.
Manteca for the past 10 years has identified a number of pressing and/or crucial road projects needed based on current growth patterns. They are part of an overall list of $215 million worth of major road projects the City Council has identified as needed by 2040.
By prioritizing the projects, the council will be deciding where to concentrate available funding instead of spreading it out among various projects while seeking money from other sources to cover the funding gap. The Atherton Drive and Union Road/120 Bypass interchange going forward will enhance the southern frontage of the 120 Bypass between Airport Way and Main Street in a bid to draw retailers that can benefit from Manteca’s central location to 1.1 million consumers within a half four drive.
The rationalization to make the Atherton Drive Gap project the top priority includes:
uThe city and developers have had an executed contract in place to construct the improvements since June 2012.
uCompleting the Atherton Gap project has the potential to relieve traffic on Woodward Avenue.
uCompleting the Atherton Gap project allows the planned development to move forward and creates an opportunity for commercial development leading to increased sales tax and job creation.
Also staff is recommending that the council reassess the proposed priority level of the 120 Bypass/McKinley Avenue interchange if the proposed family entertainment zone and/or a decision by San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission to relocate the ACE station from Yosemite Avenue to the future extension of Daniels Street warrants it. The city has clearance to allow the building of a 500-room hotel, 70,000-square-foot indoor water park and 30,000-square-foot conference center without the McKinley interchange in place. Any project that is larger — or a future expansion — requires the interchange to be built.
The fourth through sixth priorities the staff is recommending the council embrace after the Atherton Gap and the Union Road projects in descending order are:
uTraffic signals at Woodward Avenue and Main Street for $3.4 million.
uImprovements to the Woodward Avenue and Union Road intersection for $1.5 million.
uThe McKinley interchange that needs $16.2 million in additional funding.
uThe Airport Way corridor project from Daniels Street to Yosemite Avenue.
Work of some degree beyond just general conceptual planning has advanced on three of the six projects being prioritized — the Atherton Gap, the Union Road/120 Bypass interchange, and the McKinley Avenue/120 Bypass interchange. Those three projects carry a price tag of $44.3 million to complete beyond what work has been done or is in the process of being handled such as the acquisition and demolition involving right-of-way for the McKinley/120 Bypass interchange.
Public Facilities Improvement Plan road fees collected on new growth that have been already paid to the city totaled $12.8 million as of June 30, 2017. Amended budget revenues and a more muscular PFIP road fee the council adopted two months ago that goes into effect Jan. 1 is projected to bring the PFIP money collected for major road projects to $16.6 million by June 30, 2018.
The city expects to spend $5.2 million in PFIP funds in the 2017-2018 fiscal year on road projects with developer liabilities another $1.3 million worth of work. That would leave a fund balance of $9.9 million on June 30, 2018.
Completing Atherton Gap would draw that amount down $4.4 million leaving $5.5 million for the Union Road interchange with $6.4 million of that project unfunded.
To avoid the interchange work from being delayed staff and being able to build the Atherton Drive Gap is recommending:
uConstruct Atherton Drive to the full four lanes and center median from Union Road west past the proposed commercial development and them reduce the project to two lanes plus the center median.
uReallocate $630,000 from the Airport Way from Yosemite Avenue to Daniels Street to add a turning lane as well as relocate $3.4 million from the McKinley project to the Union Road interchange. That would reduce the undefined liability to $2.3 million for the Union interchange.
uAllow the 120/Union interchange to go to bid and start construction. During the bidding, bonding, and mobilization processes there would likely be insufficient additional PFIP funds collected but by the final year of the construction there would be adequate revenue.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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