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Work sets stage for next growth wave south of 120
Soil is moved to place pipe along Woodward Avenue near Main Street. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The clay pipe being buried along Woodward Avenue is a precursor to a major transformation of orchards and fields south of the Highway 120 Bypass.

The $9 million project is putting in place a 2.5-mile wastewater trunk line large enough to accommodate more than 20,000 additional residents plus two major employment centers and more retail space.

It is considered a large enough pipe to take care of 20 years worth of growth. While development won’t happen overnight, it will ultimately transform much of the area that is now within a mile of Woodward Avenue into urbanized neighborhoods, business parks, and retail centers.

At the same time the project braces for growth it will also protect the semi-rural character of much of Woodward Avenue. The last phase of the 15-month project will transform Woodward Avenue into a wide, two-lane road with a median lined extensively with trees designed to develop large canopies.

Original plans the city had for Woodward Avenue was to transform it into a four-lane road and bring traffic close to over 60 homes. The change in the city’s plan has been embraced by Woodward Avenue residents but was criticized in the last mayor’s race by challengers to Willie Weatherford. The critics felt the city wasn’t adequately planning for traffic flow.

City staff though, points to Atherton Drive less than a quarter of a mile away that parallels Woodward Avenue and is going through areas that do not have existing homes. They contend it would be excessive to have two major thoroughfares  that close to each other as well as being destructive to the existing lifestyle of many of the residents in the area.

Early issues with the pipeline being prone to water seepage from the ground have been addressed. Much of the pipe is going in areas where the water table starts at six to eight feet below the ground level. The resolution has been to use an industrial strength plastic inside of the pipes as an additional barrier against seepage.

High water tables are a way of life in many parts of Manteca. The Daniels Street extension that opened up the Stadium Retail Center, as an example, also dealt with a high water table.