By JASON CAMPBELL
The stretch of Harlan Road between Lathrop and Roth Roads isn’t pretty.
The paved-over portion of an old concrete highway buckles and cracks no matter how much money the City of Lathrop throws at it. Recent development, both inside and outside of the city, has increased the number of cars that use the route daily and as a shortcut when adjacent Interstate 5 gets log-jammed.
Tony Castro wants to see something done about it.
Too many times over the course of the last three months – Castro said he doesn’t have any scientific numbers to substantiate his data, but he knows what he has seen – there have either have been cars that have careened off I-5 and onto Lathrop’s city streets or bad vehicle accidents from cars turning onto Harlan Road from one of housing developments in the area.
Last weekend, Castro told the Lathrop City Council on Monday, was particularly gruesome – to the point where he didn’t know whether the person lived or died.
He thinks that the 50 miles per hour speed limit is too fast and that truck traffic on the route should be limited to those who are making substantiated deliveries only . That would be drivers who can produce a bill of lading that shows that have a reason to be driving on that stretch of road and not avoiding I-5 during one of its slow times.
And his ideas weren’t too far off the mark.
City Manager Steve Salvatore told Castro that two other council members have approached the city with similar complaints from citizens. Other people have called to complain about the issue so much so that it was already set to be placed on the agenda for the council’s first meeting in April.
But Salvatore warned to temper expectations.
The cost of a traffic light at Stonebridge Avenue, under the best of circumstances, he guessed, would be somewhere in the $300,000 range.
Repairing the roadway section the same way that it was done further up the road with federal money is almost out of the question because of the sheer magnitude of the work involved. He said it would take millions of dollars to dig up and relay a stable foundation on top of what is an old highway.
That’s not to say that some progress won’t be made, and that it’s not a priority for City Hall.
“Harlan Road is a challenge for us. It’s an old highway, and it’s not the most ideal situation,” City Manager Steve Salvatore said. “It’s there and we have to deal with it.”