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Interchange key for jobs
Work proceeding on 120 Bypass/McKinley project
The McKinley Avenue undercrossing is targeted to become an interchange on the 120 Bypass. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Drive down McKinley Avenue today between West Yosemite Avenue and Woodward Avenue and the odds are you won’t pass a car.
That could change as early as 2020.
Manteca is moving forward with right-of-way acquisition to turn the current undercrossing into the fourth 120 Bypass interchange within the city limits.
In doing so, it will help set the stage for thousands of jobs — many that may qualify as head-of-household.
Those jobs won’t be coming from the much touted, high-profile family entertainment zone with a 500-room destination resort hotel site with an indoor waterpark and conference center although the 160-acre endeavor west of Costco and Big League Dreams may ultimately generate over 1,000 jobs including 570 jobs at the envisioned resort hotel.
Instead they will be provided by over 5 million square feet of building space in the Lathrop Gateway Business Park that will straddle McKinley Avenue on 384 acres west of the resort hotel and family entertainment zone.
The majority of the 165 acres of limited industrial uses and most of the 83 acres of service commercial space will depend on the creation of an interchange at McKinley Avenue. The project’s 57 acres of commercial office and accompanying freeway commercial is clustered around the Yosemite Avenue interchange north of the 120 Bypass.
“Development of places like Tesla Motors, CenterPoint, and Lathrop Gateway are all regional,” noted Manteca City Manager Karen McLaughlin.
That’s because the jobs that are created at such locations aren’t simply held by the people living within that city’s particularly municipal limits. The top hometown of employees working at larger industrial  and distribution concerns in Lathrop, as an example, is Manteca, based on a survey conducted a number of years ago by the San Joaquin Partnership.
The McKinley interchange is critical for the Lathrop Gateway Business Park.
It is bordered on the south by the Union Pacific tracks that carries Altamont Corridor Express trains and serves as the city limit line between Lathrop and Manteca. The northern border is Yosemite Avenue/Vierra Road with the Union Pacific tracks that swing by Simplot serving as the western boundary.
McLaughlin noted Manteca has identified the funding for the interchange work. Actual construction is targeted to start in the 2017-18 fiscal year with completion projected by 2020.
The interchange is not needed to serve an initial 500-room resort hotel as Caltrans has indicated there is sufficient capacity at the Airport Way interchange that also takes into account other approved projects in the area that have yet to be built. Any future expansion would require the McKinley Avenue interchange be in place. The interchange is also required before the balance of the family entertainment zone can develop.
The McKinley Avenue interchange is also part of the long-range circulation plan for Manteca south of the 120 Bypass where more than 60 percent of the city’s population is expected to be by 2040.
McKinley Avenue is envisioned to head further south and then swing to the east to connect with a proposed interchange on Highway 99 midway between Austin and Jack Tone roads ad part of the Raymus Expressway corridor.