The dry weeds choking the new medians on North Main Street as well as the Lathrop Road replacement interchange on Highway 99 are only temporary.
In their place will be one of the first interchanges in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to extensively employ hardscape to create a pleasing and colorful landscape accented with trees and possibly some shrubs.
The reason work hasn’t started close to a year after the interchange was finished is simple. The widening between Yosemite Avenue and Arch Road is complete but the road work between Arch Road and the Crosstown Freeway in Stockton is not.
The landscaping will not be put out to bid until the widening north of Arch Road is “substantially completed” on the joint San Joaquin Council of Governments/Caltrans project.
By waiting, SJCOG will be able to “balance” the remaining funding available with landscaping improvements along the entire Highway 99 corridor between Yosemite Avenue and the Crosstown Freeway.
Actual work on landscaping may not start until spring 2017. It will include some type of entry feature to Manteca such as a monument sign in the northwest quadrant of the interchange.
The original landscaping plans were revised in March of last year to reduce water use and maintenance costs. The original plans proposed in May 2012 had a lot of high maintenance plantings such as roses that required more water. The Manteca City Council rejected that landscaping schematic seeking to reduce future annual costs to the city.
The 2015 plan is being looked at again to make sure that it addresses the most-recent state mandates on reduced water use.
The plan as it currently stands calls for more than 150 trees accented with shrubs and groundcover. Large areas would have bark mulch, river cobble areas, colored/stamped paving, decomposed granite, and colored gravel mulch to create a visually pleasing mix of non-irrigated area covering much of the interchange. There would be non-irrigated planting areas in basins designed to collected storm run-off.
The trees, shrubs, and groundcover would employ low-flow bubbler irrigation.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted the median on North Main Street by Kia Country where the road was widened to four lanes was not included in the scope of the original project in terms of landscaping. The median closer to Lathrop Road was included. City staff is in discussion with SJCOG to possibly include median by Kia Country as an extension of the interchange improvements.
Regardless, McLaughlin said the weed infested median will not be left in its current state. If there are no water pipes connected to the median, instead of tearing up the just paved roadway McLaughlin would favor hardscape.
“Hardscape involving rocks and pavers can be quite attractive,” McLaughlin said.
She also indicated the city will look at possibly cleaning up the area immediately north of Kia County between the fenced storm retention basin and the sidewalk at the same time.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com