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Connecting gap on Atherton Drive
Going from Main Street to point west of Wellington
Construction will start this year on the missing link of Atherton Drive between South Main Street and where it ends at the western edge of Paseo Villas just past Wellington Avenue. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Later this year you’ll be able to drive on Atherton Drive from Woodward Avenue just west of Moffat Boulevard to Union Road.

That’s because a $2.9 million project will complete the missing link on Atherton Drive between South Main Street to the western edge of Paseo Villas at a point west of Wellington Avenue.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider spending $9,500 to retain the services of Ron Palmquist for real estate negotiations needed to secure three small sections of land at the Main Street and Atherton Drive intersection to accommodate traffic signals and turn lanes.

The city is splitting the project in two so the actual extension can start in the next few months. The city already has the existing right-of-way to build the roadway itself but not the traffic signal at the intersection.

That extension work will also include extending the sidewalk along Atherton Drive.

The traffic signal at Main Street and Atherton Drive would be installed at a later point in time.

Design work is completed on the missing link from South Main Street. The project is awaiting a state agency involved with historical preservation to sign off on there not being any major historical or cultural items where the road will be built.

The $2.9 million project is being jump started by a $900,000 grant from President Obama’s American Recovery Act. The balance of the money has been collected on new construction to fund major infrastructure.

The city is also making a pitching for federal stimulus funds to get the other missing segment of Atherton Drive built between Union Road and Airport Way.

If successful, Atherton Drive - the first four-lane road south of Highway 120 Bypass – would be completed from Woodward Avenue near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to a point west of Airport Way.

It is expected to stimulate potential commercial and office type development along its corridor as the north side of Atherton Drive offers Highway 120 Bypass exposure with three freeway interchanges within a two-mile stretch.

The city is also receiving $586,200 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money from the Department of Energy to replace the city’s existing street lights with high-efficiency induction lamps.

Once they are in place, the new lights will save the general fund $150,000 in annual PG&E costs. Factor in three anticipated PG&E rate increases over the next 10 months and that leaves enough savings to pay the salary and benefits of one police officer each year.

Manteca is receiving at least $7 million in federal stimulus funds with efforts underway to secure even more.

Other money flowing to Manteca as part of President Obama’s American Recovery Act includes:

•$957,000 to pay for the rehabilitation of portions of nine streets. Much of the work has already been completed.

•$1.4 million to hire four additional police officers for three years.

•$1.4 million for landscaping along Highway 99 and the 120 Bypass

•$1.3 million in transit funds including $380,000 to go toward environmental studies for the proposed transit station at Moffat at Main, $100,000 for an additional fixed route bus, $130,00 for the lease of the new Manteca Transit facility, and $40,000 for marketing, branding and signage.