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Mantecas ugly duckling front door going through transformation
Kyle Allred of Rancho Cordova-based Tanner Masonry works on cleaning newly laid brick in the median at the Yosemite Avenue and Highway 99 interchange. - photo by HIME ROMERO
April showers will bring May shrubs and trees.

Rain has only caused a temporarily delay in work to put in place irrigation lines as well as a raised median planter complete with a monument sign announcing that motorists have entered Manteca for the Yosemite Avenue and Highway 99 interchange beautification project.

Once the irrigation is in place sometime next month, the contract will be awarded for the planting of trees, shrubs and other ornamental plants on the four quadrants of the interchange as well as in the median.
It is the final phase of the $19 million makeover of the entrance to Manteca that included making the Highway 99 bridges wide enough to accommodate the six lanes widening that is starting in 2012 plus adding lanes to Yosemite Avenue east of Highway 99 that doubles as East Highway 120.
There has never been landscaping in the 55 years that there has been an interchange.

Highway 99 is major landscaping undertaking
Manteca – working in tandem with Caltrans and the San Joaquin County Council of Governments – is undertaking the most expensive and ambitious landscaping project in city history.

Some $1.4 million in American Recovery Act money will transform up to 50 acres at two interchanges – the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 as well as Highway 99 at Yosemite Avenue – from barren weed infested areas into ones drenched in color and foliage.

The biggest change will take place at the 120 Bypass with Highway 99 where upwards of 130,000 vehicles pass through daily making it the heaviest traveled pavement in Manteca. It is there that up to 1,700 trees – primarily native species – will be 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.

The landscaping portion – when it goes out to bid – will require the contractor awarded the project 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.
When it reaches maturity, the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange landscaping will resemble woodlands.

The planting scheme calls for taller trees in the back with heights scaling downward towards the roadway. The evergreen trees picked for the back are similar to the ones you’ll find along Center Street and the west side of Morezone Field.

Others in the mixture includes several oak trees, western red buds, Chinese pistache, and several others.

They are being planted with chicken wire to protect roots from gophers.

At the same time mulch will be placed in such a manner to serve as a fire break to slow down any fires to allowing firefighters a chance to knock down grass fires hopefully in time before they can damage trees. Designing fire breaks coupled with the fact mature woodlands would minimize the growth of weeds plus block winds could ultimately mean that fires which are a routine occurrence on all quadrants of the interchange during the dry season will be substantially reduced.