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Lathrop bars trucks from segment of Lathrop Road
Photo contributed by a Del Webb resident Three trucks are lined up southbound on Airport Way at the Lathrop Road intersection.

Trucks of any kind – unless they are making local deliveries – are no longer allowed on the stretch of Lathrop Road that runs through residential areas.

The Lathrop City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to formally bar all tractor-trailers from driving between Harlan Road and McKinley Avenue – essentially cutting off Lathrop Road as a pass-through for trucks coming from Highway 99 to I-5 or the other way around.

The move comes after years of complaints from residents about the route becoming loud, polluted, and unsafe thanks to the high volume of truck traffic that passes through daily – something that has become increasingly worse over the years as warehouse and light industrial development and residential growth have put more cars and trucks on the roadways competing for a tiny amount of space.

While Lathrop plans on enforcing the new ban imposed by the council, what exactly that will do to the truck traffic – and where it will send trucks that are obeying the law – is not yet currently known, and with work underway to create a truck route along Airport Way through Manteca, planners are waiting to see what happens next while trying to mitigate the impacts that are currently being seen.

“Manteca is looking at developing truck routes for trucks to go north on Airport – if they establish some kind of median on Lathrop Road that prevents trucks from heading west, that will certainly help,” Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore said. “Most of the trucks in that whole corridor are coming down and going down Lathrop Road, so Louise could suffer long lines of traffic trying to get through to the interstate.

“But it’s a possibility that if there are long lines – they’ll just go north.”

The issue with Louise Avenue becoming a bottleneck for truck traffic as trucks descend on that corridor instead is a concern for the Lathrop Manteca Fire District which operates a fire station just north of I-5 across the freeway from Louise Avenue.

According to Interim Fire Chief Josh Capper, having a bottleneck at Louise Avenue could impact response times to areas east of I-5 if crews had to divert to Lathrop Road in order to get around the traffic.

Construction delays at Station 31 in Historic Lathrop – which is currently only sending a Battalion Chief on calls from that station – due to materials sourcing issues only further exacerbates that concern.

While Lathrop, Manteca, and other South County communities have embraced warehouses and distribution centers in recent years, the number of trucks on local roadways has increased significantly. And as more cars are clogging local roadways and highways like the Highway 120 Bypass thanks to ongoing residential development, the utilization of routes like Lathrop Road as shortcuts between I-5 and Highway 99 increases – much to the chagrin of those living along those busy thoroughfares.

With truck traffic cut off from using Lathrop Road as a pass through, that leaves the often-congested Highway 120 Bypass and French Camp Road as the remaining routes that connect straight from I-5 to Highway 99 uninterrupted.

According to Salvatore, improvements have been made to the intersection of French Camp Road and Airport Way to allow for large truck movements and improve access to the Airport Way corridor.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.