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Atherton Drive now open from Main to Wellington
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You can now take Atherton Drive all the way from Woodard Avenue near Moffat Boulevard to Union Road.

The City of Manteca opened the new $2.9 million segment of the four-lane road between Wellington Avenue and South Main Street on Friday at 3 p.m. The traffic signals at South Main Street and Atherton Drive will continue to flash red in all directions for at least a week. That is to allow drivers to get use to the fact that the stop signs have been replaced before the signals go into full operation.

Public Works Director Mark Houghton cautioned drivers to watch their speed since it is a fairly long uninterrupted stretch.

Houghton said the city will be monitoring the bike path crossing at Wellington Avenue and Atherton Drive to determine the best way to enhance crossings safety for pedestrians and cyclists alike now that the road is open.

Speed surveys and traffic counts will be conducted in the coming months on Woodward Avenue at Buena Vista Drive to determine the best way to improve crosswalk safety at that location. The opening of the Atherton Drive segment is expected to reduce traffic on Woodward Avenue but it may also increase speed. Actual work on improvements will start after the city gets physical work started on widening Louise Avenue east of Cottage Avenue and adding sidewalks. Funding for that project requires work to start by June 20, 2013 or the money reverts to the state.

Also, the city anticipates being ready to call for bids to construct the Atherton Drive segment from Union Road to a point east of Sparrowkawk Street next spring.