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Lathrop-99 interchange may lose its dust bowl look
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The new Lathrop Road interchange was hailed by the City Council as a chance for Manteca to make a good first impression on travelers heading south on Highway 99.
Now that the Highway 99 corridor project from the Cross-town Freeway in Stockton to the 120 Bypass in Manteca is getting closer to wrapping up actual road and bridge work, Caltrans is gearing up  for the final phase that involves landscaping.
Currently the interchange is simply dirt with weeds.
During Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center at 1001 W. Center St., the City Council will be updated on the proposed landscape and entry monument for the city. They will be asked to provide direction to staff.
The  design calls for the interchange to be one of the first in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to extensively employ hardscape to create a pleasing and colorful landscape accented with trees and possibly some shrubs.
The original landscaping plans were revised in March of last year to reduce water use and maintenance costs. The original plans proposed in May 2012 had a lot of high maintenance plantings such as roses that required more water. The Manteca City Council rejected that landscaping schematic seeking to reduce future annual costs to the city.
The plan as it currently stands calls for more than 150 trees accented with shrubs and groundcover. Large areas would have bark mulch, river cobble areas, colored/stamped paving, decomposed granite, and colored gravel mulch to create a visually pleasing mix of non-irrigated area covering much of the interchange. There would be non-irrigated planting areas in basins designed to collect storm run-off.
The trees, shrubs, and groundcover would employ low-flow bubbler irrigation.
Under the current proposal, Manteca will be responsible for maintenance of the southwest quadrant and portions of the northwest quadrant where landscaping will be installed. After two years of plant establishment and maintenance, the city could be responsible for those areas at an annual cost expected to be between $70,000 and $85,000.