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Obama bucks helping close gap
Federal stimulus funds extending Atherton Drive
ATHERTON1 7-18-09
The current section of Atherton Drive that ends at the edge of the Paseo Villas west of Van Ryn Avenue will be extended westward to Main Street using $2 million in growth fees and $900,000 in federal stimulus funds. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The southeast quadrant of the Highway 120 Bypass/Main Street interchange is being opened up for development thanks to a $900,000 infusion of federal funds.

The Manteca City Council Tuesday is expected to approve a plan that weds money secured from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act crafted by the Obama administration with $2 million in growth fees paid by developers to construct Atherton Drive where a gap currently exists between Main Street and where the four-lane road currently ends by the Paseo Villas just west of Wellington Avenue.

The project is being fast-tracked thanks to cooperation from Abraham and Ralph Arditi and the Brocchini Family Partnership to provide dedication of right-of-way plus construction easements. The council is expected to accept those two offers as well as award an $88,380 contract to EDAW to prepare state-required environmental documents. They also are expected to award a professional services contract for $80,000 to MCR Engineering.

Completing the gap is expected to stimulate economic development as well as improve traffic flow patterns south of the Highway 120 Bypass. It would complete Atherton Drive from Woodward Avenue just west of Moffat Boulevard to Union Road. It would leave two other gaps to finish. One from Union Road to a point east of Airport Way and the other from a point west of Airport Way to the future realignment of McKinley Avenue.

It is designed as a four-lane parallel road to the Highway 120 Bypass that will serve commercial and office areas in and around the three existing interchanges along the Highway 120 Bypass.

The city’s general plan envisions commercial between Atherton Drive and the Highway 120 Bypass between Airport Way and a point near the existing Paseo Villas.

On the south side of Woodward Avenue uses include some commercial as well as office uses plus residential.
The specific 2,800-foot long gap that is being pursued with federal help will serve property that has had a number of development proposals over the year including a shopping center and highway commercial with hotels.

After Bass Pro Shops opened as part of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley and drew a million customers in the first five months, commercial brokers reported a strong increase of serious interest in companies seeking to locate future retail expansions along the Highway 120 Bypass corridor as the economy improves. Among the possibilities are a Winco Foods and a Super Wal-Mart.

Plans also call for traffic signals at Main Street and Atherton Drive.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail