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Latest Caltrans effort to ease Highway 99 traffic congestion
ramp meter

The first of a series of improvements aimed at easing growing traffic congestion on the Highway 99 corridor between Yosemite Avenue in Manteca and Kiernan Avenue in Modesto will start going online next week.

Caltrans crews a week from today will start activating newly installed ramp meters along the freeway.

Ramp meters work by controlling access of vehicles merging onto the freeway at peak travel times. It helps create gaps between vehicles allowing a more seamless merging that reduces traffic slow down and in turn eases congestions.

The ramp metering system  — that involves a red and green traffic light with no yellow — regulates the flow of vehicles allowed to enter the freeway based on real time conditions with the help of other monitoring equipment that has also been installed. Experts indicate the goal of traffic merging onto freeways without stopping or forcing traffic in the merge lane to stop has been proven to be successful.

Prior to meters being activated, they will be in a “solid green” mode to alert drivers that they will soon be operational.

Ramp meters in San Joaquin County will be activated sequentially, beginning with southbound Highway at Austin Road on Tuesday, March 3, and continuing south to include Jack Tone Road (March 10), Ripon’s Main Street (March 17), and East Highway/Yosemite Avenue (June 2).  Activations on northbound Highway 99 are scheduled as follows: Main Street in Ripon (April 21), Milgeo Avenue (April 28), Colony Road (May 5), Jack Tone Road (May 12), Austin Road (May 19), and East Highway 99/Yosemite Avenue (May 26).

The ramp meters are scheduled to be active Mondays through Fridays during peak commute hours from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

Caltrans will perform field surveillance, collect traffic data, adjust meter timing rates, and monitor the ramp queues. 

For more information about ramp metering and its benefits, motorists can view a short video by visiting