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$800M in SJ road projects
Made possible by Measure K, state bond money
Work on one of three bridge crossings over railroad tracks along the Sperry Road extension. - photo by Photo Contributed

FRENCH CAMP — The oldest “highway” in the South County is getting two upgraded interchanges.

French Camp Road’s interchanges at both Highway 99 and Interstate 5 are being rebuilt over the next two years through separate projects involving Measure K sales tax and Proposition 1B state transit bond proceeds.

The Interstate 5 interchange is designed to tie in with Sperry Road and a series of bridges crossing over McKinley Avenue, El Dorado Street, French Camp Slough and three railroad tracks. When completed, it will provide a direct route from I-5 to Stockton Metro Airport and surrounding industries including a planned major business park bordering the airport. The Sperry Road extension of 1.6 miles is costing $47 million while the new French Camp Road interchange has a $31 million price tag. A contract for the interchange is expected to be awarded in December.

The French Camp interchange upgrade at Highway 99 is part of the $250 million project widening the freeway for 13.1 miles from Arch Road to the 120 Bypass in Manteca.

French Camp Road was pressed into use in 1849 as the major southern route to the gold mines. Its alignment is based largely on the fact soil just to the north was too soft during the rainy season for passage. It was a major corridor up until the early part of the 20th century.

It now factors heavily into a regional strategy to develop jobs around Stockton Metro airport. It also serves as the sphere of influence boundaries for Stockton to the north and Manteca to the south. Ultimately, it could serve as the city limits for both cities.

The projects are part of six major road projects currently underway in San Joaquin County thanks to Measure K tax receipts and the state bond money.

Along the Highway 99 corridor between Stockton and Manteca that means “road work ahead” signs will be part of the landscape for motorists until early 2016.

Whatever inconveniences the roadwork may cause the bottom line is that it will bring annual employment for 2,380 construction workers.

The University of the Pacific’s Business Forecasting Center studied the six projects and determined that 7,157 jobs would be created over the course of the work. The projects are part of $800 million in road work now underway or that will start in the next few months countywide.

The biggest source of employment will be along Highway 99 between the Cross-town Freeway (Highway 4) in Stockton and the 120 Bypass in Manteca.

The segment from Arch Road south to the 120 Bypass will generate 1,019 jobs. The stretch from Arch Road north to the Cross-town Freeway will create 1,887 jobs.

The breakdown also includes 1,223 jobs connected with the widening of Interstate 5 through Stockton, 1,822 jobs connected with Highway 4 construction, 150 jobs for Highway 12 work and 156 jobs for auxiliary lane work on Interstate 205.

Other major road projects are:

• Adding two sets of auxiliary lanes as well as acceleration and deceleration lanes on Interstate 205 trough Tracy at a cost of $19 million.

• Widening Interstate 5 from Country Club to Hammer Lane in Stockton to eight lanes at a cost of $122 million.

• The building of a partial interchange at Highway 4 at Navy Drive to serve the Port of Stockton at a cost of $194 million.

• Three North Stockton bridges over railroad tracks.

• Highway 12 improvements from Terminous Island to Interstate 5

Measure K is a half cent transit related sales tax approved by county voters in 1990. It generated $753 million during its 20-year lifespan. Voters in 2006 extended it for another 30 years with the goal of raising $2.552 billion.

Measure K money helped the county leverage more than $500 million in Pro. 1B bond receipts. That was only topped by the counties of Los Angeles, Alameda, San Diego, and Orange.