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No trains in Lathrop Roads future
New interchange & new bridge across tracks
Roberto Sandoval of NorCal Masonry sets up scaffolding next to a sound wall being built along Highway 99 just past the Lathrop Road exit. - photo by HIME ROMERO

 Lathrop Road will become a quick way to get between Interstate 5 and Highway 99 when two major bridge projects are completed in the coming years.

One project — the replacement  of the 1955-era, narrow two-lane bridge with a four-lane overcrossing and new interchange at Highway 99  — is already under construction.

The other project is a bridge over the western most railroad line that passes through Lathrop. The City of Lathrop secured $10.5 million in state funding this year to complete the overall financing of $15.5 million. Work could start in 2014.

When completed, Lathrop will have removed two at-grade crossings on Lathrop Road to effectively eliminate trains impeding traffic flow. It isn’t usual for trains to create 10 minute delays for traffic on Louise Avenue as well as Lathrop Road.

Eventually Lathrop Road will become a four-lane street through Manteca.

The improvements to the Lathrop Road corridor is expected to help accelerate development of the industrial and business park areas along Airport Way where CenterPoint Properties is currently moving forward with a 3.1-million square-foot business park designed for logistics and distribution adjacent to the Union Pacific intermodal facility. The project is expected to generate up to 600 permanent jobs.

It will also change how traffic flows into northern Manteca.

The flyover onramp will be eliminated and North Main Street extended as four lanes to Lathrop Road.

It will also turn Crestwood Avenue between Northgate Drive and Lathrop Road into a collector street of sorts. That’s because the Frontage Road connecting to French Camp Road near Delicato Family Vineyards has been shifted to the west to align with Crestwood.

The entire reconfiguration is expected to spark commercial interest in developing retail and highway services near the Lathrop Road interchange.

It effectively creates the only major urban interchange in San Joaquin County with easy on and off access that doesn’t have such development around it. And since it serves as a gateway of sorts to North Manteca including Del Webb at Woodbridge as well as the City of Lathrop, it is expected to pique even more interest in retail investment.

The interchange itself will serve as an entrance feature for Manteca for Highway 99 traffic heading south. Besides being landscaped, the bridge will have a brick veneer with Tidewater-style street lights.

New sound walls are also being built to replace the existing ones that are in various stages of decay as part of the $250 million widening of 13.1 miles of Highway 99 between Arch Road and the 120 Bypass.

A new interchange is also being developed at French Camp Road.

When the overall project is completed in 2015 along with another widening project from Arch Road to the Cross-town Freeway in Stockton, Highway 99 will be six lanes from Lodi south to Turlock.