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Works start on Lathrop widening to four lanes

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POSTED August 24, 2017 1:19 a.m.

 Construction on the Lathrop Road widening project – which will transform the heart of Lathrop’s arterial thoroughfare from its longstanding two-lane configuration into an 84-foot, four-lane throughway – has begun.
After months of planning, prep work and public meetings to address the configuration and the status of the controversial project – which is beginning without the blessing of a property owner on Lathrop Road who refused to sell a portion of her parcel to complete the land acquisition portion of the project – crews have begun the work that will widen Lathrop Road from Harlan Road to 5th Street/Woodfield Drive.
And according to a release from the City of Lathrop detailing the start of the project, Lathrop Road is poised to be a major transportation thoroughfare once the work – and eventual projects on other stretches of the roadway – is complete. The release refers to Lathrop Road as a “regionally significant arterial” connecting Interstate 5 and Highway 99 that currently experiences 15,000 vehicle trips per day. It has been designed as a four-lane arterial not just in city planning documents, but also in the general plan documents for both the City of Manteca and the County of San Joaquin as the Regional Transportation Plan of the San Joaquin Council of Governments.
The designated benefits of the project, according to the City of Lathrop, include:
uIncreased vehicle safety with the addition of vertical curbing on the north side of Lathrop Road, a center median, street lighting and a traffic signal.
uIncreased pedestrian safety with the addition of vertical curbing and a separated sidewalk on the north side, street lighting and a pedestrian railing near Interstate 5, and ADA improvements that don’t currently exist.
uImproved storm drainage with the addition of vertical curbing and inlets on the north side.
uImproved air quality by improving traffic flow and reducing congestion.
But not everybody is in favor of the project or the changes that it will bring to a stretch of road that has historically been a residential street.
In addition to the lone holdout to sell to the city – small portions of three properties were needed to be acquired based on the initial configuration of the project, and while two were achieved the third was not – other neighbors who are concerned about what they say is the escalating speed of traffic and alterations to their routines have voiced consistent disdain for the city’s position to move forward.
While the city has not announced its intention with the last parcel – mentioning before that eminent domain was not something that was off the table – city staff has said that work on the project can begin without it with a written understanding with the contractor that will prevent any work from being done in front of that residence.
A timetable for the completion of the work – which will also include the installation of a traffic signal at Lathrop Road and Rev. Maurice Cotton Drive – has not been released.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.

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