By DENNIS WYATT
If you think the past month or so navigating through downtown on East Yosemite Avenue has been a tad inconvenient due to road work, get ready for a real challenge.
Major road work will start Tuesday, Sept. 3, and continue until at least the end of the month on East Yosemite Avenue from Powers Avenue to Main Street. It involves closing half the street at a time to allow for the grinding of existing pavement followed by putting new pavement in place.
East and west traffic lanes will remain open but they will be shifted to one side of the street with travel lanes being narrowed. There will be no on-street parking during the major road construction.
The city is advising motorists to avoid East Yosemite between Powers and Main if at all possible.
The best way around the construction areas if you are heading westbound on East Yosemite Avenue is to either turn right on Powers Avenue and travel to North Street to turn left to reach Main Street. You can also turn left on Powers and travel to Moffat Boulevard where you will turn right to reach Main.
The reverse works for eastbound traffic on Yosemite Avenue.
For the best traffic flow the city says the preferred detour is to use Moffat. There are several reasons why.
uThe traffic signal at North and Main allows less vehicles through traveling east-west at any given time.
uThe speed limit is higher on Moffat being that it is a wider road and primarily has few concerns such as businesses that directly access the street.
uNorth besides being narrower is lined with homes with more streets connecting with it.
uNorth also sees more pedestrian traffic throughout the day plus has a four-way stop at Fremont and North where there is congestion during the school day due to St. Anthony’s Catholic School as well as on Saturdays and Sundays during church plus for funerals and weddings.
The best time to try and avoid the downtown area on East Yosemite Avenue in general is between 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. That’s because Manteca High classes are dismissed at 2:32 p.m. while Lincoln School’s final bell is at 3:10 p.m. Even without East Yosemite Avenue being torn up the area is heavily congested at those times.
The city is recommending those dropping off — or picking up — students to use Moffat Boulevard to reach Sherman Avenue. A less congested alternative would be to use Moffat to reach Garfield Avenue where the student parking lot is located. There are areas where you can turn your car around and head back to Moffat that will be less congested than Sherman Avenue that leaves you with two options — both problematic — when you try to leave the area. The first is crossing or turning on Yosemite Avenue. The second is if you are trying to turn left back onto Sherman to head toward Moffat after dropping off or picking up a student you will need to deal with northbound traffic on Sherman that is likely to have heavy congestion.
The work on Main Street that is nearing completion has not been as intense. That’s because the pavement condition on East Yosemite Avenue is much worse requiring replacement paving as opposed to a pavement overlay as happened on Main Street.
Starting today work on a new 12-inch water line will take place on Yosemite at the Fremont Avenue intersection. Work on the line that had been targeted for upgrading within three years was moved up to avoid having to tear up new pavement in several years from now. Fremont from Center Street to Yosemite will be closed for several days.
The $2.8 million contract awarded to Teichert Construction to upgrade Yosemite Avenue between Main Street and Cottage Avenue is being funded primarily with federal funds and augmented with local gas tax and Measure K receipts.
Safety highlights, lane configuration changes, and other work include:
uStripping on westbound Yosemite at Powers Avenue that puts a bicycle lane between the through lane and the lane that turns right. Not only is that considered safer for bicyclists but it should end the illegal practice of motorists using the right turn lane as a through lane to cut in front of traffic. Bike lanes will be put in place from Main Street to Cottage Avenue.
uThere are hand activated overhead warning flashers planned at Yosemite Avenue at the intersections of Garfield Avenue and Sherman Avenue in front of Manteca High. The flashers will be powered by solar panels.
uVarious curbs at intersections are being replaced to comply with current American with Disabilities Act standards.
uThe cross slope of the street where pavement projects over the years has built it up to 4 inches will be reduced down to 2 inches. This is why the pavement is being grinded and replaced between Powers and Main.
uInstalling high visibility crosswalks.