Manteca does have a plan for the Airport Way corridor to upgrade pavement and widen the street that just over a decade ago was basically an old rural road on the western edge of the city.
That said it isn’t going to happen soon enough for most people.
City Manager Tim Ogden — in response to growing public complaints about pavement conditions and traffic on Airport Way — had Deputy Public Works Director give an update on city efforts regarding the corridor during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Currently there is an identified project involving widening Airport Way between Daniels Street Yosemite Avenue to six lanes that has 30 percent of the initial design work done. There is also $2.4 million set aside in the city’s capital improvement program to do the work.
But that $2.4 million could disappear fast when state mandated environmental studies are done, needed right-of-way is obtained, and power poles that line both sides of Airport Way are relocated.
As far as the rest of Airport Way from Yosemite Avenue to Lathrop Road and beyond to Roth Road there aren’t any plans officially per se to do anything but Public Works Director Mark Houghton said staff is already looking at what needs to be done on that section of Airport Way.
That isn’t enough for the Manteca City Council.
“It’s a little Third World-ish,” Councilman Mike Morowit said of Airport Way.
He added than when he heads to Costco from his home in Union Ranch he avoids using Airport Way due to pavement conditions and traffic.
Mayor Steve DeBrum said he wants staff to come up with a temporary fix to address potholes and other issues to make Airport Way more tolerable in the interim while a permanent solution is developed and implemented.
The council agreed they wanted to see whatever can be done now to patch problems while realizing spending money on a pavement overlay and such now would not only reduce funding to get the proper solution in place but would essentially be throwing good money after bad.
The current plan for the Daniels Street to Yosemite Avenue section of Airport Way calls for establishing the right-of-way while paving center lanes in each direction and leaving the four other lanes for a second phase. The capital improvement project description also calls for a continuous left turn lane to be put in place but Houghton said the city may have to leave the median dirt and come back in a later project to complete it based on funding.
The city hopes to tap into the regional transportation fee collected on growth countywide to generate additional funding for work on that section of Airport Way. Houghton noted currently the regional fees are being used to help pay for work on Main Street from Yosemite Avenue to Atherton Drive that will start in the next few works as well as upgrading Yosemite Avenue from Main Street to Cottage Avenue.
In addition to Airport Way, Houghton said Lathrop Road also needs to be addressed. Both streets for years were simply county roads that had been widened in spots after city growth reached them and then crossed to the north along Lathrop Road and to the west along Airport Way.
The improvements between the 120 Bypass and Daniels Street were done when the city put infrastructure in place using redevelopment agency funds for the Stadium Retail Center and Big League Dreams. Since the state pulled the plug on RDAs, that funding source for major road work has disappeared.
The improvements on the east side of Airport Way between Fishback Road and Daniels Street were put in by the developer that owns the land where Prime Shine car Wash was built.
The city requires development to pay to widen major arterials to the center line as part of their conditions of approval. That is why the west side of Airport Way was widened to two lanes, the median installed, and the existing northbound lane repaved along the Center Point Business Park south of Roth Road where the Crothall Laundry, 5.11 Tactical and the Penske/Lowe’s distribution center are located. It is also how the east side of Airport Way between Crom Street and Louise Avenue got widened.
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