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Mantecas front door gets an extreme makeover
Richard Hernandez of San Rafael-based Watkin & Bortorlursi Inc. contractors works on the pavers on the Yosemite Avenue island. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The most appealing landscape element at Manteca’s “front door” - as the Highway 99 interchange at Yosemite Avenue has been described -  may no longer be the leaning palms that create an “X” that serve as a sort of trademark for In-N-Out Burgers.

Workers this week are expected to put the finishing touches on the raised brick planter complete with landscaping in the large traffic island in the middle of Yosemite Avenue west of the interchange.

It is a major improvement in the appearance of an interchange that has long been described as “Manteca’s front door” due to its status as the most heavily traveled  interchange in the city. Irrigation lines have also been put in place in each quadrant of the interchange. The next phase will start when the weather cools in the fall to plant ornamental shrubs and trees.

It is just one of three landscaping projects underway along freeways passing through Manteca.

The Highway 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange will have up to 1,700 trees – primarily native species – planted.

Caltrans’s design perimeters call for minimizing the use of water at the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange. The trees will be irrigated intensely for about three years to get them established.

In addition, the city is using stimulus funds restricted to highway landscaping to plant vines on sound walls along the 120 Bypass as well as plant trees at two interchanges - Airport Way and Main Street.

The contractors awarded the landscaping projects have to maintain it for three years. That means the city won’t incur any maintenance costs until late 2013. As far as the 120/Bypass and Highway 99 interchange is concerned three years maintenance would be at a minimum anyway. As for Yosemite and Highway 99, the city has put a cost for upkeep on that interchange’s landscaping due to its ornamental nature at more than $30,000 a year including labor, water, and replacement costs.