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Railroad crossing closing on Main snarls city traffic
Traffic headed north on South Main Street is diverted away from the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Moffat Boulevard due to construction. The crossing will remain closed today with a targeted reopening on Thursday. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

Joseph Waterman sat on his bike at the corner of Main and Oak Streets and stared at the construction equipment blocking his path.

On the last day of his summer vacation, Waterman was planning on visiting a friend to hang out and play video games but didn’t realize that the railroad tracks near Moffat Boulevard were shut down for repairs.

“I’m just trying to get across, and now I’ve got to go all the way around,” Waterman said. “It’s not what I want to do when it’s hot outside, but I guess I don’t have a choice. I would be able to do this tomorrow, so it looks like I’m going around.”

Traffic throughout downtown Manteca was snarled Tuesday afternoon as cars working their way from Main Street over to Yosemite Avenue backed up feeder streets and jammed up the lights.

Union Pacific crews are also working on the railroad tracks crossing today. That means
it may not reopen to traffic until Thursday.

Karen Duvall wasn’t aware of the construction until she got all the way down to the turnaround on Main Street. She pulled into the parking lot at Express Market to gas up and planned on doubling back to jump on the 120 Bypass rather than dealing with the congested detour.

“It is the season for construction, but you don’t expect Main Street to be closed,” she said with a laugh. “It’s going to cost me an extra 10 minutes, so it’s all that bad. Now I know to avoid this for a couple of days.”

And while the traffic situation downtown might not be the best, there’s a chance at any point during the day that backups can occur at any railroad crossing.

Because of the extent of the work being done, all trains passing through Manteca will be doing so at extremely reduced speeds – affecting drivers on Louise Avenue, Union Road, Walnut Street, Center Street, Yosemite Avenue, Woodward Avenue, and Airport Way.

The detour itself was a burden for Marcus Perry, who was humping it on foot down Main Street to reach a friend’s house on Alameda. With the detour looping all the way down Oak Street, he said he’ll now have to find a way that’ll get him over to the part of Alameda that his friend lives on.

“It’s a long walk already, and now I’m going to have to go like a mile out of the way to get around this,” he said. “From the way it looks down there though, I might get there before some of the cars do. Maybe it’s not so bad.”