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Austin Road project with 4,198 homes requires water tank
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Manteca’s third water tank may go up on Atherton Drive just north of Woodward Avenue to make sure adequate pressure can be provided for southeast Manteca as well as the 1,050-acre Austin Road Business Park project.

The City Council Tuesday accepted a water supply and assessment and verification study required by state law as part of the review process for the project proposed for annexation to the southeast quadrant of Manteca.

The mixed use project will have 2,358 single family homes and 1,840 multi-family dwelling units such as apartments, townhouses, and condos. Peak hour water demand is expected to reach 5,100 gallons a minute when the project reaches build-out sometime after 2030.

That means besides the one tank additional tanks may be needed as well as booster pumps and possibly additional wells even though the city has an adequate surface water supply.

The problem isn’t whether enough surface water is available but whether the existing pipe from the treatment plant 16 miles northeast of Manteca can carry enough water to meet peak demand without having additional storage facilities in the city.

Austin Road Business Park is the biggest development in terms of residential, industrial and even commercial ever planned for Manteca. It also includes the site of the proposed 5,000-seat amphitheatre envisioned by the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The 1,050 acres abuts Woodward Avenue and Highway 99 to the north, an imaginary line if Highway 99 ran due south at the interchange with the 120 Bypass instead of angling off to the southeast, and future Ripon city limits on the south as well as the east.

It would have 3.5 million square feet of general commercial or about four times the amount of square footage as The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley that is now under construction. It would also have 8 million square feet of industrial, business park, and office use.

The industrial uses would generate between 3,000 and 6,000 jobs while the retail portion could yield up to 7,000 jobs.

The homes could accommodate up to 10,200 residents, just under a sixth of the city’s current population.

The project also will require construction of a new Austin Road interchange at a site closer to Ripon at a cost of $150 million in today’s dollars.

The existing interchange is too close to the Highway 120 Bypass interchange under current Caltrans design standards. Once the interchange is moved farther to the south the existing one can be removed and allow the state to install a second transition lane from eastbound Highway 120 to southbound Highway 99. That is the only way they can eliminate the constant back-up during heavy traffic.

The high cost factor for the interchange is attributed to two things. The future six-lane bridge deck would have to also cross the railroad tracks and the freeway at the same time much like the design at Jack Tone Road and Highway 99.

It would also require shifting the existing freeway lanes to the east to accommodate the new interchange.

The project is currently in the environmental review stage and has yet to be annexed to the city.