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99 widening may start in 2012

New interchange going in at Lathrop Road

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99 widening may start in 2012

Proposed French Camp Road interchange

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POSTED November 17, 2009 3:42 a.m.

A wider Highway 99 plus a modern interchange to serve northeast Manteca will mean the loss of property for a number of people including Center Appliance, a Valero gas station, a small business center, a modular home lot, and a few homes.

It is a far cry, though, from when talk originally started about widening Highway 99 to six lanes from Arch Road through Manteca in the early part of this decade. Back then upwards of 160 homes would have been impacted. The changes are the result of Caltrans re-evaluating every aspect of the project including placing the additional lanes in the existing median instead of encroaching on private property plus listening to the community.

A relatively light turnout during a public hearing Monday at the Golden West Community Gym – less than 100 – was the direct result of Caltrans listening.

“I’m happy that they went with the Lathrop Road option,” said Bill Goodwin who was among more than 400 people who opposed an alternative that would have connected Southland Road with Northgate Drive and send more traffic down country roads and past Manteca schools.

Construction could start as early as spring 2012 and be completed by summer of 2014. The project is being funded with state bond money specifically approved for upgrading the Highway 99 corridor as well as Measure K sales tax funds.

Putting the new interchange at Lathrop Road and removing the existing off and on ramps from southbound Highway 99 on to Main Street was the overwhelming preference of the 400 who opposed the original plan plus that of the Manteca City Council, Manteca Unified School District board, and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

The new Lathrop Road interchange would include a bridge deck with four lanes, eight-foot wide shoulders that can easily accommodate bicycles, and sidewalks. That’s a far cry from the narrow two-lane bridge without sidewalks that is now in place.

The off and on ramps will be on the north side of Lathrop Road with the ramps on the west side being aligned to tie directly with North Main Street that would be widened to four lanes to Northgate Drive.

The Frontage Road on the west side would swing wide to connect with Crestwood Avenue.

The ramps on the west side would tie into Lathrop Road with a new T-intersection. Southland Road as well as the Frontage Road on the east side would swing away from the interchange and meet in a new alignment further to the east.

The French Camp interchange will also have new on and off ramps put in place on the north side with the two bridges on Highway 99 being rebuilt to improve sight lines and enhance safety.

The project will close the Frontage Road on both sides of Little Johns Creek and covert them into cul-de-sacs.

Also, another lane will be added to Highway 99 between Yosemite Avenue and the Austin Road interchange.

Sound walls will be put in place immediately across from Raymus Village on the east side as well as near the mobile home park on Southland Road.

The sound wall behind homes on the west side of the freeway between Yosemite Avenue and North Main Street will be replaced and extended to  screen additional homes that have been built in Aksland Estates.

The final environmental impact report is due to be completed by February 2010 with right of way acquisition starting next spring. The project is targeted to go out to bid in October 2011 with work starting in the spring of 2012 and being completed in the summer of 2014.

For more information on the project go to www.dot.ca.gov/dist10.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulleitn.com

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