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More industry less retail for Austin project

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POSTED November 10, 2013 11:55 p.m.

Not even one street has been started and the developers of Austin Road Business Park have found a way to pare 4,907 daily vehicle trips in the 1,036-acre project.

A proposed amphitheater and events center that had been pursed at one time by the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau adjacent to one of the project’s storm retention basins is no longer viable. The developers are also seeking to reduce general commercial zoning. Both actions would allow then to pump up acreage for heavy industrial use and add additional open space.

The end result would be development that would produce 4,907 less daily vehicle trips that originaly. To put that in  perspective, that is an eighth of the traffic that passes through Manteca’s busiest intersection at Louise Avenue and Main Street during a typical 24-hour period.

The decision to place 28.2 acres in heavy industry use and another 25.6 acres as open space reflects the market and projects moving down the line. There is an abundance of land designated for commercial purposes already in Manteca. At the same time interest is picking up in the area for potential heavy industrial users.

The Manteca Planning Commission will consider the zoning proposal when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Work on the railroad crossing at Austin Road near the Highway 99 interchange in early 2014 is being targeted to set the stage for snagging the first of what could be 9,134 new “direct” jobs.

The widening of the railroad crossing is part of $10.4 million in upfront improvements to the Highway 99 interchange at Austin Road as well as South Austin Road that are being made to start development of the job-rich Austin Road Business Park in southeast Manteca.

The timeline calls for modifications to the Highway 99/Austin Road interchange ramps to start in early 2014. Work on the railroad crossing will be a separate project as well the upgrading of South Austin Road to federal standards to accommodate 53-foot long truck trailers. Breaking the road work into three segments allows the work to proceed faster.

The interchange modifications will cost $3.9 million. It includes traffic signals at Austin and Moffat, the off ramps that connect to Moffat, as well as the Austin and freeway ramps on the northeast side. The traffic lights at Moffat and Austin will be tied into the railroad crossing much as they are at Industrial Park Drive/Spreckels Avenue and Moffat.

Moffat will be widened to four lanes between Austin and Woodward Avenue.

The South Austin Road project will cost $6.4 million.

The investors will also be spending $13.9 million to put infrastructure and roads in place within the business park portion of the project.

Developers expect it to take up to 36 months for the first employment center to open in the project. Ultimately a new interchange is essential for the complete build out of the Austin Road Business Park that will straddle Austin Road south of the existing Highway 99 interchange and borders the railroad and freeway on the east. Manteca has already approved the project.

The first phase will consist of the employment center. It can start development without a new interchange although modifications are needed to the existing

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