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120/ McKinley interchange could be in place by 2020
McKinley Avenue resident Tracy Radigan shares concerns about the proposed interchange project. - photo by HIME ROMERO

It is being hailed as an economic juggernaut – a $39 million infrastructure upgrade providing vital access to development that will help push the boundaries of what Manteca can become and who it will attract for the next two decades. 

But when Tracy Radigan looks at the plans for the McKinley Avenue interchange, all that she sees is a decade of her own life vanishing like the winds that blow across the area’s open land.

That’s because Radigan, who rents space in the shadow of the proposed partial-cloverleaf interchange that is being pitched to provide immediate access to heavy-hitters like Great Wolf Resorts and other mixed-use commercial ventures, would see the property that she uses to breed German Shepherds disappear seemingly overnight. 

Since she doesn’t own the parcel, the right-of-way acquisition and “fair market value” would go to the owner of the property and not to her. And all of the time and effort that she invested into the business will be gone as soon as crews came through with bulldozers to prep the area for the next phase of progress. 

“Caltrans says that they’ll work to help relocate me and help me find a new place but I breed German Shepherds – there aren’t very many places where I can take a business like the one that I run,” Radigan said, wiping tears from the corner of her eyes. “It was my dream and I’ve put a lot of work into it and now it looks like it’s going to be gone, just like that. It’s upsetting because there isn’t anywhere else for me to turn.”

Dozens of residents showed up Wednesday night at the Manteca Transit Center to find out more about the project that is expected to be up for state and federal approval starting this fall. The environmental impact report has already been completed and is being circulated and computer-generated renderings already show how the sleepy two-lane road that currently serves as a rural access point would become a major destination over the course of the next 20 years. 

The development, said consultant Keith Meyer, is already coming. It’s just a matter of making it to where the people will be able to access it. Traffic patterns can be streamlined so as to not impact other neighboring roadways as well. 

Depending on the final tallies there could be as many as 25 private land acquisitions required to gather the 45 acres needed for the project right-of-way. The City of Manteca also owns three parcels. 

If the project clears the comment phase, it will likely earn final approval between 2015 and 2017 and construction would begin shortly thereafter – likely wrapping by 2020.  

The McKinley Road Interchange is a joint project being proposed by the City of Manteca, Caltrans, the San Joaquin Council of Governments, the Federal Highway Administration and San Joaquin County.