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Louise-McKinley Avenue widening under way

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Louise-McKinley Avenue widening under way

A worker is framed by the grading machine being used in the widening and improvement of Louise Avenue between McKinley Avenue and the railroad tracks to the east.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 19, 2009 2:24 a.m.
LATHROP – Louise Avenue from McKinley to the city of Lathrop’s eastern city limits at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks will remain close to traffic until after the Fourth of July.

Work crews with the Knife River Construction of Stockton have been scraping and grinding this section of the road since the beginning of last week as part of the $2 million widening and improvement of Louise Avenue and the McKinley Avenue intersection.

The work currently going on is just the beginning phase of the project that will see the section of Louise Avenue from Fifth Street to the eastern city limits widened into four lanes. Al Kelley, grading foreman for the Northern California Division-Stockton of Knife River Construction, said his crews expect to be working “off and on” on this project through the rest of summer. After the grading of the Louise Avenue portion east of McKinley is completed, Kelley said they will start doing the same work on the section of Louise Avenue near the former Southern Pacific Railroad tracks.

Lathrop Public Works Director Steve Salvatore said this road widening project will involve the removal and realignment of several Pacific Gas and Electric light posts along the affected sections of Louise Avenue. The city also has been in negotiations with several property owners affected by this road improvement project. Among the properties affected are two residential homes owned by Melvin and Joan Kauffman of Manteca, owners of Delta A/C Supply on West Yosemite Avenue in Lathrop. Both homes are rentals.

The house at the northeast corner of Louise and McKinley is scheduled for demolition as part of the widening of this intersection. The city has been working with the occupants of this house to assist them in the relocation process as required by law.

The city has earlier indicated that it won’t be necessary to tear down the Kauffmans’ other rental property. However, Melvin Kauffman has informed Lathrop officials through the city’s negotiator that he would like the second house demolished at city’s expense since the widening will render his property difficult, if not impossible, to rent out once the project is completed because the road would be just six to eight feet away from the front door which would be a safety issue. Besides, Kauffman pointed out, he is bound to lose rental income of nearly $20,000 a year from both properties due to this one project alone. The longtime renters at this house have recently moved out, hence, the city will not have to go through a relocation assistance process.

City officials and Ron Palmquist of Stockton, who was contracted by the city to conduct the negotiations with the Kauffmans and the other property owners, are still in closed-session discussions over the “price and terms of payment” for the needed right-of-way acquisitions. The other negotiating parties are Russell Lathrop Davis and Patricia Ann Davis who are trustees of the Russell L. and Patricia A. Davis Living Trust, and the CBC Steel Buildings LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company. The CBC property is located on the southwest corner of the Louise-McKinley intersection.

Funding for this project comes from the State Transportation Improvement Program and from federal Transportation Development Act monies.

When completed, Louise Avenue will become a four-lane traffic corridor from Interstate 5 to the city’s eastern limits at the railroad tracks. Louise Avenue and Lathrop Road are two of the city’s major traffic arteries connecting two major highways – I-5 to the west and Highway 99 to the east.

The road closure on Louise Avenue west of Airport Way June 8-22 as posted is to allow the South San Joaquin Irrigation District to install a box culvert crossing on Louise immediately to the east of the eastern Lathrop city limits. The announcement from the city of Lathrop states that this project is part of the French Camp Outfall Canal, a “combined storm drainage and irrigation tail water canal” owned and operated by SSJID. Concern for public safety led the cities of Lathrop and Manteca to jointly support the temporary closing of Louise Avenue while work on the culvert is completed.
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