By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Country roads: Future thoroughfares?
Manteca study addressed road needs for 117,000 people
The need to accommodate future traffic has prompted Manteca to identify possible major thoroughfares that could go in place over the next 25 years. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Editor’s note: This is the second in an occasional series on Manteca traffic.

Prescott Road today is a narrow, two-lane strip of pavement that runs between Louise Avenue and French Camp Road in the countryside dotted with orchards, dairies, and vineyards east of Manteca.

At some point in the future, though, it could become a four-to-six lane thoroughfare tied into the proposed $150 million interchange serving the planned 1,037-acre Austin Road Business Park.

Prescott Road is one of five current rural roads identified in the environmental impact report for an update of Manteca’s traffic circulation element. Those roads could one day carry major volumes of traffic to accommodate a city on its way from 70,000 residents today to 117,000 residents in 2035. At the same time the number of Manteca-based jobs is expected to jump 50 percent to 21,756.

Those two premises coupled with housing needs was the basis for targeting where major streets should go. Such streets would be designed to carry high volumes of traffic with limited access points to keep traffic flow moving. Major streets are expected to carry either four or six lanes of through traffic.

The major streets of the future as well as how other existing major streets might end up being extended include:

•Prescott Road from Highway 99 at a new interchange about a mile south of the Austin Road interchange to French Camp Road. It would connect at the new interchange with the future eastern extension of McKinley Avenue which is designed to swing from its north-south alignment once it passes Woodward Avenue.

•Austin Road would extend north of where it current curves into Lathrop Road and rejoin its current alignment at Northland Road after passing to the east of New Haven School.

•Louise Avenue would be four to six lanes as far east as Prescott Road.

•Cottage Avenue would extend north of Lathrop Road and curve to the west to continue north on the existing alignment of Castle Road. At the “S” curve on Castle Road it would be continued north to French Camp Road.

•Lovelace Road would be extended east of Union Road and would curve to the southeast crossing the future extension of Cottage along the current Castle alignment and then T-intersecting into Austin Road about a half mile north of Northland Road.

•A new interchange would be added at the future Lovelace Road and Highway 99.

•Roth Road would extend east to Union Road. After it passes Union Road it would curve to the northeast to reach French Camp Road roughly a quarter mile east of that street’s intersection with Union Road.

•Graves Road between Austin Road and the future southern extension of Prescott Road will be four to six lanes.

•The 120 Bypass would be extended eastward paralleling Graves Road.

•Atherton Drive would be extended to the west beyond McKinley Avenue and then would turn south to loop back to the east and connect in a T-intersection with the future southern extension of McKinley Avenue at a point about a half mile south of Woodward Avenue.

•Atherton Drive would also be extended south of Woodard Avenue where it now T-intersects just west of Moffat Boulevard. It would ultimately T-intersect just over a mile to the south at the future extension of McKinley that will be tied into the new interchange on Highway 99 between Manteca and Ripon.

•Woodward Avenue would curve south at the railroad tracks to T-insect with Austin to allow the closure of the Woodward Avenue overcrossing of the tracks and to improve traffic flow at the Austin Road interchange. That interchange would remain in place with ramps until such time as the new interchange is built to the south. When that is completed, freeway access ramps will be removed at the Austin Road interchange.

•Extending Union Road and Airport Way both south and north as four or six lane thoroughfares.

•Extend Main Street (South Manteca Road) south as four lanes.

The proposed major roads are part of the 501-page document the Manteca Planning Commission will review at a public hearing on Jan. 25. The document involves traffic standards and goals that will impact the lives of every Manteca resident for years to come.

The document is the environmental impact report for the circulation element to Manteca’s general plan that serves as the city’s blue print for growth.

It addresses acceptable levels of service - how long it takes to get through key intersections at heavy traffic times - plus explores using expressway to move traffic quicker, ways of slowing down traffic in neighborhoods, ways of softening the visual impact of streets, plus ways for pedestrians, bicyclists and even transit riders to get around Manteca.

In cobbling together such a report, planners must take into account that actions can’t take place in one location without impacting another. Such is the case with proposed changes in downtown traffic.