There was no Union Road interchange 20 years ago on the 120 Bypass.
It was just a two-lane bridge crossing the freeway from Manteca into the countryside. Then in 1993 on and off ramps were added.
The city is now gearing up for another transformation for the Union Road interchange. Work is 65 percent completed on the design needed to put in place an interchange with four through lanes crossing the freeway plus enhanced ramps. Staff is now working on final right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation issues.
“When the work is done, it will be an all new interchange,” noted Manteca Public Works Director Mark Houghton.
The interchange has been earmarked for upgrades ever since ground broke on The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. The anchor store - Bass Pro Shops - draws 2.5 million visitors a year.
The four-lane interchange will also serve existing and future residential development south of the 120 Bypass as well as future commercial along the southern side of the 120 Bypass.
Included in that mix is the 47-acre Union Crossings commercial center approved for development on the southwest quadrant of the 120 Bypass and Union Road interchange. Plans call for eight major retailers plus pads for smaller stores.
The interchange work was listed among projects for the last redevelopment agency bonds floated by the city before the state pulled the plug on RDAs throughout California. As such, part of the money needed could come from $42 million the city can still spend on economic development projects identified as potential undertakings as part of the RDA bond measure. Fees have been collected from growth also to help pay for road projects such as the interchange work.
Houghton said funding plans for the Union Road interchange work is part of a proposed budget for the coming fiscal year being released for council review later this month.