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Pavers will transform Main thru downtown
stret pavers
This residential street in Ripon was constructed with pavers.

Most major road rehab projects in Manteca simply add 17 years of life to a street before work is needed again to stop it from deteriorating.

It always involves blacktop that within months starts appearing tired and worn with street grit and looks hot in a typical Manteca summer.

And rarely do they reduce congestion as they simply keep the same lane configuration.

Manteca is about to break the same-old norm in a big way.

And in doing so they will roll out a road project that actually beautifies the community and — if several council members have their way — ultimately will be repeated when major pavement work is needed in the future on other downtown streets.

The City Council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. is being asked to move the $3.8 million North Main Street widening project through downtown forward.

Not only does it convert the last stretch of two lane roadway on what now is four lanes elsewhere between the 120 Bypass and Lathrop Road along the city’s heaviest traveled north-south corridor but it comes packaged as a beautification project and as a way to reduce flooding along the corridor.

That’s because it will be the first road project in Manteca to use street pavers.

The colored pavers that initially cost more than simply building a typical asphalt street from scratch have a lifespan of 65 years versus asphalt at 17 years.

They can also be installed in a manner that makes them withstand heavy truck traffic. Pavers have been used for years on a section of roads in Westley in Stanislaus County that was repeatedly being pounded by truck going to and from Interstate 5.

It is why Ripon — which has pavers on a large swath of its downtown streets and in some subdivisions — is using pavers on their South Stockton Avenue roadwork that is now underway. The street accesses Ripon’s industrial area that has heavy truck traffic.

Using pavers instead of asphalt is allowing the existing three lanes — two travel lanes and a continuous left turn n lane — with parking on both sides  to be replaced with two travel lanes in each direction and a continuous left turn lane.

Had asphalt been used the need for curbs and gutters would have encroached on the minimum requirements for travel lanes. That would have forced the widening of the street area by cutting into existing sidewalks.

That would have required new cement work and costly electrical pole, street light, and traffic signal location work.

Not only do pavers need no gutter when they run along sidewalks as asphalt does, but they are installed in a way that makes them permeable for water. That is why city engineers thinking out of the box added a French drain below the street on either side of the street along the edges. That will allow water to seep downward instead of overloading storm drains.

Pavers are removed to get into trenches and then replaced without unsightly and often uneven pavement patching. If by chance several pavers “settle” they can easily be taken out and repacked using sand. The end result, as Ripon has found, is the end to unsightly and rough patch work as the pavers look seamless after utility or repair work is done.

The council Tuesday is being asked to reject bids they received previously. The project was anticipated to have cost $1.3 million. The low bid was $2.6 million.

City management indicated staff that had miscalculated the cost of some work plus the tight timetable triggered higher bids.

Even so, the $3.8 million price tag is still lower than the original cost estimate if the city had gone with asphalt and was forced to widen the street.

The original cost for the project was pegged at $3.9 million. That, however, did not include PG&E relocation work that would be required costing another $500,000 to $1 million and possibly delaying the project longer. By using pavers the project will cost at least $600,000 less for the 2,600-foot long stretch and roadway that averages 50 feet in width.

The pavers will cover North Main Street from Yosemite Avenue to Alameda Street.

The project will eliminate 67 on-street parking spaces and improve curb cuts to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards,  The landscape median and the much maligned bulbouts in the 100 block of North Main Street will also be removed.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email