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Investing $9M for growth
Woodward: 2 lanes with tree-lined median
Some $9 million of infrastructure improvements will be made along 2.5 miles of Woodward Avenue. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

It is a project that will save $9 million, make improvements along Woodward Avenue on 2.5 miles west of Main Street in one fell swoop, and set the stage for 20-plus years of growth.

Dubbed the “Woodward Avenue Utilities and Street Improvement Project,” it could move forward during tonight’s 7 p.m. Manteca City Council meeting with the awarding of a bid of $8,997,566 to Floyd Johnston Construction of Clovis.

The project entails putting in place a major sewer trunk, storm system lines, and street improvements on Woodward between South Main Street and a point roughly midway between McKinley Avenue and Airport Way. The road will be rebuilt with a number of the planned landscaped medians with trees installed. The reconfiguration of the road follows a City Council directive to keep Woodward as a two- lane road instead of widening it to four lanes west of Main Street.

The end result by late 2012 will give the city ability to accommodate additional growth to the south plus have in place a wide two-lane Woodward Avenue broken up by a median designed eventually to have stately shade trees in a bid to blend development in seamlessly with the existing semi-rural character of some 70 homes already in place along the roadway.

The City Council has just directed staff to look at converting the four-lane stretch of Woodward east of Main Street to Bridewell to two lanes to create 160 parking spaces for Woodward Park users as well as slow traffic down. If that goes forward, it will be designed to revert back to four lanes at some point in the future if traffic volume justifies doing so. The roadway is now at less than half of its design capacity of 14,600 vehicles a day. Currently, 6,300 vehicles a day use that segment of Woodward.

It involves digging deep trenches for sewer lines as well as storm drainage lines. To minimize inconvenience to residents and to avoid a repeat of the 16-month closure that occurred on East Woodward Avenue between Van Ryn Avenue and Moffat Boulevard, only a half mile at a time on Woodward will be closed to allow for work to be done. Residents will still have access to their driveways. It could take as long as 18 months for all of the work planned along Woodward to be completed.

The work included 6,610 linear feet of median curbing or more than 1.2 miles of landscape planters that will have 146 trees planted in them the contractor will also restore 69 private driveways and restore 950 feet  of private fence by the time all of the work is completed.

Originally the entire wastewater collection system south of the 120 Bypass was estimated to cost $32 million based on the 2006 wastewater collection master plan. Developers questioned whether the plan - which they termed “a Cadillac” because it relied 100 percent on gravity flow was economically and physically feasible. They contend the price would drive up the cost of housing to the point of being prohibitive and that it would be subject to near impossible construction requirements and possible future failure due to high water table combined with the sandy loam soil.

Shortly after City Manager Steve Pinkerton came on board June of 2008, he was approached about revisiting the plan.

Staff subsequently sat down with developers and went over alternatives. The end result was reducing the pipeline from its original configuration of 48 to 54 inches down to 30 to 36 inches and going from an all gravity system to one that was a gravity and forced system using pumps. During the review, staff applied more specific rate of wastewater generation impacted by modern conservation measures which allowed for smaller pipes. The development community has long argued that Manteca has underestimated the capacity of both the wastewater treatment plant and the major parts of the collection system feeding it.

The decision to do all the work at once means the road will only have to be disturbed once for major utilities. The water line and fire hydrants have been in place for more than a decade.

Manteca will borrow $9 million from the Public Facilities Improvement Plan transportation accounts paid for by growth to fund the project. Fees collected from future growth will repay the loan plus interest at a fixed annual rate of 2 percent.