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Roth Road extension would dump traffic on Cottage
cottage traffic
A city plan advancing as part of Manteca’s general plan update would extend Roth Road eastward to create a new interchange at Highway 99 also would connect Roth Road to Cottage Way in a bid to make Cottage Way the eastern north-south part of a “looped” traffic circulation plan. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Just how the City Council Tuesday decides how colors should be assigned on a map to areas identified as the most likely candidates for annexation will dictate whether the emphasis as Manteca grows is more on attracting additional distribution centers or cookie cutter single family homes.

It also may set the stage for a traffic circulation plan that would eventually connect an extension of Roth Road to a future extension of Cottage Avenue to create a “looped” circulation pattern. That would ultimately send more traffic down the existing narrow two-lane Cottage Avenue that runs from Lathrop Road to Yosemite Avenue.

Residents that live along the rural segment of the existing Cottage Avenue plus connecting roads were successful at forcing the city to back a Caltrans plan to widen the Lathrop Road interchange with Highway 99 instead of abandoning it for a new interchange that would have been created by extending Northgate Drive eastward. The Northgate interchange was initially preferred by the city to tie in with its vision for future development at the time.

The council on Tuesday is not considering the traffic element of the general plan. Land use decisions that the council could embrace though would effectively dictate major components of a future traffic circulation plan.  

The council — when then they meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St. — will be asked to choose between two preferred land use map for property not yet in the city between Lathrop and French Camp roads as well as 1,050 acres in southeast Manteca originally annexed for the now dead-in-the-water Austin Road Business Park. 

Elected leaders also could further tweak either map so it can be used to make growth projections and establish the land use element of the state mandated general plan update that serves as a blueprint for growth.

The most controversial land use issues are to the north.

Both maps as now proposed create an agricultural buffer as far west as Union Road for the Delicato winery as well as to the south. Property owners impacted by the land use want their property used for residential uses and not agriculture. Land north of the extension all the way to the Union Pacific Business Park would either eventually be zoned for industrial or business parks with the exception of the southwest corner of Airport Way and French Camp Road where a horse ranch is located today. 

The city’s vision — if the council ultimately adopts it — is to extend Roth Road eastward and then curve it to the southeast dissecting the Union Road/Lovelace Road intersection and then heading east to T-intersect into Frontage Road. At a point in the future the T-intersection is envisioned to be replaced by an interchange with Highway 99 midway between French Camp Road and Lathrop Road.

That would allow trucks — including longer STAA trucks — to use the Roth Road extension to reach Highway 99. Until an interchange is built, trucks would be by using the Frontage Road that is already a STAA route between the Delicato winery and Lathrop Road to access the freeway.

The Roth Road extension would serve as a buffer of sorts from the residential south of the Roth Road extension and the winery.

It would be developed in the same fashion as Atherton Drive as a four lane corridor with left turn lanes as well as landscaped medians, and sound walls where appropriate with extensive landscaping. Instead of just one 12-foot separated bicycle lane on one side of the road there would be separated bicycle lanes on both sides.

The separated bicycle lanes or bike paths would be linked to the future extension of the Tidewater Bikeway. A separated bicycle lane is also envisioned along the Frontage Road to connect the Roth Road bicycle path with Lathrop Road where another segment would loop it back to the Tidewater. The bike paths on both sides of Roth would extend to Airport Way.

The two maps differ as far as the ultimate use of areas to the south of French Camp Road and east of Airport Way. One plans calls for the area that has a high concentration of homes on smaller parcels to be used for business parks and the others for industrial.

A large area on the southeast corner of the Highway 99 and French Camp Road interchange that has rail access is envisioned on one map as remaining agricultural and on another as industrial.

One map also envisions the eventually relocation of the Lovelace Transfer station where trash is hauled in, sorted, and shipped out on a daily basis with the 17 acres being designated as a future park. There is no plan in place, though, to actually accomplish that goal.

Southeast Manteca:

Homes or industrial?

There are two options before the council regarding southeast Manteca where the third phase of Caltrans’ $131.5 million plan to address operational, traffic flow and safety issues at the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 and Austin Road/Highway 99 interchanges will likely accelerate development.

One version has it as primarily as single family homes, high density residential such as apartments and medium density residential along with commercial and a small area remaining for agriculture.

While the first version has no industrial or business park areas, the second vision has almost half that of the area set aside for such uses while cutting back on area set aside for single family homes.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email