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More traffic control measures get OK for Dos Reis Road
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LATHROP — Even with the looming possibility that the new Lathrop High School could be closed to stave off anticipated school budget deficits next fiscval year, city officials are proceeding with plans to install additional traffic-safety measures at Dos Reis Road, the temporary entrance to the 50-acre campus, and Manthey Road intersection.
The traffic improvements approved by the Lathrop City Council Tuesday night will only amount to $3,000. But Council member Robert Oliver pointed out that price tag “is far less than litigation costs” that could occur considering the student foot traffic generated at those locations by the opening of the school in August.
“We must legally do something about it,” he said, piggybacking on Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo’s comment that “kids tend to do things that you tell them not to do.”
“Kids will walk where they want to walk,” concurred Oliver.
The traffic-control improvements suggested at this intersection will include the installation of a sign warning drivers of a “T” intersection and another sign alerting motorists that cross traffic at Manthey Road on Dos Reis does not stop, plus a sign identifying the location of the high school.
In reviewing four possible improvement options recommended by the city’s traffic engineering consultants, Fehr and Peers, staff suggested to the council that the second option involving the above traffic-control installations is considered the best choice at this time in light of the intersection’s current traffic volumes. The first of the four options suggests leaving the intersection as is, while the other two more expensive improvements would best apply if Lathrop Road, originally designed to be the main entrance to the school, does not open “in the near term.”
Dos Reis, which was inherited by the city from the county following incorporation in 1989, is just a two-lane country road with open ditches on both sides for drainage. The majority of the traffic currently using this rural lane, which dead-ends to the San Joaquin River where a regional camping ground and boat ramp are located, are the roughly half-dozen residences, visitors to the recreation area, and most recently, school faculty and school buses. That does not include the foot traffic created by students who walk to and from school, with many of them crossing Manthey and walking under the freeway to go home on the east side where they live.

Other Dos Reis Road improvements  completed during Thanksgiving break
Dos Reis, which is located in the back of the school, was hurriedly utilized as an interim access route when Richland Planned Communities which is the developer of the Central Lathrop area where the campus is located, failed to deliver a completed Lathrop Road when the campus opened as scheduled in August. Up until September, the Roseville-based development through its then-project manager Don Troppman was pledging its “terrific commitment” to Lathrop and to work with the city and the school district in completing the necessary improvements to Lathrop Road. However, since then Richland has closed its office in the Crossroads Commerce Center and laid off Troppman. And telephone messages left at the company’s office in Roseville were not returned.
Sub-contractors working with Richland have also gone before the Manteca Unified School Board of Trustees complaining about not being paid by the developers for underground utility pipes to serve the school that they were contracted to install, and because of that have suspended all their work pending receipt of payments from Richland.
With all those infrastructures not completed, stop-gap services were hastily put in place for the school. Sewer service is by pump-and-haul to the tune of about $1,000 a day, and Lathrop Road was abandoned as an entrance to the school because of street drainage and other roadway safety issues that have not been implemented due to lack of funds owing mainly to the vanishing of Richland from the picture.
During the weeklong Thanksgiving break when school was out, the city took advantage of the traffic slowdown and made improvements to Dos Reis Road to address urgent safety concerns caused by winter weather dangers such as the valley’s notorious tule fog and rains. Those improvements included putting up school zone and speed limit signs, new road striping and pavement markings. The project was finished to the tune of $24,000 to be paid in equal amounts by the city and the school district.
The $3,000 additional improvements okayed by the council on Tuesday will come from the city’s gas tax funds.
But should it appear during funding negotiations with the school district that Lathrop Road will not be ready to open within six months, the city may consider spending $28,000 or more on top of the $3,000 tab above to implement additional traffic-safety measures at the Dos Reis-Manthey Road intersection.