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Manteca project concerns Ripon
Austin Road BP means traffic, more students for Ripon
Ripon leaders are concerned where the next interchange will go on Highway 9i9 between Jack Tone Road and Austin Road. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Manteca’s Austin Road Business Park that includes housing for 10,200 people has both the City of Ripon and the Ripon Unified School District concerned.

The City of Manteca approved the project that covers 1,049 acres, including various types of land uses, back in 2010.

“This is the largest project to date,” said Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart at Tuesday’s Ripon council meeting.

Of that proposed land, he identified 247 acres as industrial; 65 acres as business / industrial / professional; 108 acres as general commercial; 84 acres as commercial mixed use; 450 acres as residential; and 95 acres as detention basins or parks.

City of Ripon officials are concerned about the traffic; in particular, the placement of the proposed McKinley Avenue interchange – in Ripon, it’s identified as the Olive Interchange – and the associated road network. They fear significant amount of southbound traffic overflowing into Ripon and adversely affecting the roads there.

“This could negatively affect us,” Councilman Elden ‘Red’ Nutt said.

The Project Study Report on the interchange has been completed by Manteca and has since been forwarded to Caltrans for review and approval, Zuidervaart said.

He revealed that Ripon’s general plan has the Frontage Road west of Freeway 99 extending north into Manteca as well as Canal Boulevard.

Meanwhile, school district officials, notably, Superintendent Louise Johnson, are concerned about the residential areas within the district boundaries.

“I can see 1,500 to 2,000 students impacting our district,” she said.

Incidentally, those same boundaries are shared with the Ripon Consolidated Fire District.

On Tuesday, May 28, Manteca’s Planning Commission is scheduled to meet in the Council Chambers, 1001 W. Center St.. On the agenda is the proposed Vesting Tentative Map for Phase 1 of the Austin Road project.

“I wasn’t planning to attend but I am now,” said Johnson.

Ditto that for City of Ripon officials.

“We have requested the staff report, once it is completed, to ensure that our concerns are covered,” said Zuidervaart.

Those concerns are Manteca’s current and upcoming growth, which includes:

• The finished, entitled, master plan and pending lots or units at 12,293.

• The finished, entitled, master plan and pending lot or units along the Woodward Avenue corridor at 10,597 units.

• The entitled lots/units with RUSD and the Ripon fire district at 3,493 units.

• Manteca, to date, has not identified the funding mechanism for the McKinley Avenue or Olive Avenue interchange.

The cities entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on the Austin Road project. In it, Caltrans is recognized as “ultimately determining where overpasses and interchanges will be located.” Ripon, however, would continue to be an active participant in the development of the new Highway 99 interchange, according to the MOU.