Make no mistake about it.
Trucks are not only here to stay but they are going to keep growing in numbers.
And it is because the ticket to more jobs in Manteca — just like its neighbors in Lathrop, Stockton, and Tracy — are distribution centers and related logistics operations.
The South County’s is in the unique position geographically of being within a two hour drive of the bulk of the 18 million consumers in the Northern California Mega-region anchored by San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento. For those moving goods to consumers it is also blessed with being at the hub of a freeway network as well as being served by intermodal yards by both the Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads, Stockton Metro Airport with a number of daily Amazon Prime flights and the Port of Stockton.
Those two intermodal operations — the UP sandwiched between Lathrop and Manteca on Roth Road and Santa Fe 10 miles north of Manteca on Austin Road — are designed to expand to ultimately handle 1.3 million lifts a year. That translates to a daily average of 3,561 truck movements a day or roughly 150 percent more than what is now taking place from the rail-to-truck transfer facilities.
It isn’t uncommon for truck driving jobs with major carriers to command $60,000 to $80,000 a year — high pay for jobs that do not need a college education. At the same time the presence of the two intermodal yards and the abundance of distribution centers in the South County have created a high demand for independent operators.
But it isn’t coming without a price.
Truck traffic heading to and from distribution centers intermingles with other vehicular traffic in greater numbers almost weekly. Street pavement — often not built with such heavy loads in mind — is being relentlessly pounded. Airport Way and Spreckels Avenue are prime examples.
And once road failure is about to occur, the fix is expensive. The city spent $1.4 million to rebuild 2,500 feet of Lathrop Road east of Airport Way last year.
The city is now scrambling to find upwards of $4 million to make “interim” repairs at the most egregious sections along Airport Way from the 120 Bypass to a point north of Lathrop Road. To upgrade the entire corridor and to widen it to four lanes a project in the neighborhood of $20 million may be needed.
Currently there are only three recognized truck routes in Manteca — Lathrop Road, Moffat Boulevard, and Yosemite Avenue-Spreckels Avenue-Industrial Park Drive-Main Drive.
Truck route study results
likely not to please many
Some residents irked about truck movements and truck parking happening at will in Manteca away from truck routes and not involved in the legally allowed practice of making deliveries and pickups at stores and such were hopeful a $125,000 truck route study would keep trucks off of streets such as Airport Way and Union Road.
The end result of that study incorporated in the draft general plan update now being vetted is likely not to please many people.
“Every major entrance to the City of Manteca is a truck route,” noted Manteca resident Mark Orner of the proposed truck routes delineated on a map on page 73 of the draft general plan update. “What a total disaster this town has come.”
The interchanges on Highway 99 at Yosemite Avenue and Lathrop Roads already access local truck routes as does the 120 Bypass interchange at Main Street. The French Camp Road interchange — outside of the city but within Manteca’s planning area that designates areas the city might ultimately annex — is on a truck route as well.
The plan adds truck routes for the existing Union Road and Airport Way interchanges along the 120 Bypass as well as at the McKinley Avenue interchange expected to break ground in the next few years. That also goes for the new Austin Road interchange when it opens in
And if proposed Highway 99 interchanges for the future extension of Roth Road and the creation of Raymus Parkway are built, they too will be connected to truck routes.
That’s 10 interchanges that the city is — or plans to — intermingle truck traffic headed to and from distribution centers and industrial parks with other vehicle traffic.
The argument can be made that the city has no choice, except perhaps Union Road, to ultimately have truck routes tied into all 10 interchanges.
Tracy has kept truck
and vehicle traffic
intermingling at minimum
Tracy, which has far more distribution centers, avoided flooding major commercial corridors and even arterials serving basically neighborhoods and commercial areas such as Manteca’s Union Road, based on how business parks have developed. They are either on the extreme western flank of the city along Interstate 580 or along MacArthur Boulevard and to the east off of Interstate 205 on the eastern fringe of Tracy.
Stockton also does not have truck routes on every interchange given its business park and industrial development is in the southern part of the city as well as along a large part of the Highway 99 corridor.
Lathrop with five interchanges does not have a truck route at one — Manthey Road that accesses River Islands. Most of its business park development including Yosemite Gateway now under construction that is anchored by Wayfair — is in close proximity to freeway interchanges.
The 11,000 home planned community does 350 acres set aside for a business park. But restrictions are in place that prohibits distribution centers and other high truck movement concerns to locate in the River Islands business park.
Manteca has placed business parks fairly close to freeways such as Manteca Industrial Park and Spreckles Park. But in order to take advantage of the lure of being near rail the west side of the Airport Way corridor is being developed as business parks.
The need to designate Union Road as a truck route along with Louise Avenue from Airport Way to Union Road was triggered in part by a desire by the city to convert more than 1,000 approved housing units on the southeast corner of Louise Avenue and Airport Way into close to 4 million square feet of business park space.
Why truck traffic is
expected to keep
growing in Manteca
To underscore how trucking is expected to keep growing in Manteca-Lathrop:
*A developer is looking at building a truck travel plaza with hotel, truck parking, fueling, restaurant and store near the soon-to-be revamped Austin Road-Highway 99 interchange.
*The draft of the updated general plan calls for roughly tripling the land devoted to distribution centers and business parks.
*Manteca has three truck parking yards in place that provide 236 parking spaces for big rigs. Two such lots have just been completed in the Manteca Industrial Park and virtually all spaces are rented. There is a 153 space truck parking yard in the CenterPoint Business Park in northwest Manteca.
*A fourth truck parking yard with 486 spaces has been approved at CenterPoint. When completed Manteca will have 722 secured truck parking spaces in four locations.
*Lathrop is reviewing plans for a 147 stall truck parking yard at 2001 East Louise Avenue. Lathrop has approved a 121 space truck parking yard near the West Yosemite Avenue interchange off of the 120 Bypass. In November Lathrop planners reviewed plans for two truck parking yards on McKinley Avenue that have a combined 321 spaces for big rigs as well as spaces for 55 trailers without the tractor cabs. Between the four that will give Lathrop 589 secured parking spaces for trucks.
*That means between Manteca and Lathrop — excluding smaller scale operations in rural areas — there will soon be 1,311 secured parking spaces for trucks.
*There is a growing shortage of truck drivers. Nationally the average age of truckers is 55. And the Northern San Joaquin Valley — considered the No. 2 hot spot in the nation for logistics and trucking jobs — is struggling to find drivers even with a number of firms offering as much as $62,000 a year plus signing bonuses.
*There is an abundance of big rig dealers along Interstate 5 in north Lathrop and French Camp that are being supported by the growing trucking industry in the South County.
Comment period on draft
general plan underway
The draft general plan review period is now underway. It closes on Thursday, May 6. The General Plan and EIR can be viewed on the city’s website at: https://manteca.generalplan.org/content/documents. Submit written responses by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, to J.D. Hightower, Deputy Director, at the address above or by email at email@example.com
For more information contact the Development Services Department, 1512 W. Center Street, Suite 201, Manteca, CA 95337. Phone: (209) 456-8500. Fax: (209) 923-8949.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org