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Road work may deliver 9,134 jobs
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There’s more road work on the way for Manteca motorists to contend with.

But instead of simply easing traffic congestion this project is designed to ease Manteca’s unemployment.

The City Council this week approved spending $2.25 million to move to the construction of Austin Road/Highway 99 interchange upgrades. It is a down payment on a coordinated private-public sector endeavor designed to make Manteca a prime player in the battle for large distribution centers such as Amazon as well as smaller endeavors.

The project involves improving the existing Austin Road interchange on Highway 99 to accommodate increased truck traffic to serve future tenants for the 1,050-acre Austin Road Business Park multiuse project that includes commercial and housing in future stages.

The first to develop will be 238 acres of heavy industry, 24 acres of business/industrial/professional (BIP) uses and 18 acres of open space in the extreme southern portion of the project about a mile from Ripon. The second phase consists of 41 acres of BIP plus land designated for commercial mixed use. The third phase contains 315 acres of low density residential and open space. There are 108 acres of general commercial in the fourth phase.

The bulk of the housing in the project that ultimately is expected to accommodate 10,200 residents would be built in the final phase.

An economic analysis of expected land use indicated the project will generate 9,134 direct jobs meaning the people that will be employed at the concerns that locate within the Austin Road Business Park.

The $2.2 million project will widen ramps at the Austin Road and Highway 99 interchange to allow the southbound off ramp to 99 to have two left turn lanes and a right turn lane. Onramps also would have metering signals.

There would also be traffic signals at the off ramps as well as Austin Road or Moffat Boulevard. The Austin/Moffat traffic signals would be tied into the Union Pacific cross arms similar to signals at Moffat and Industrial Park Drive/Spreckels Avenue.

In addition there will be two northbound lanes that will go down to one at Woodward as the left lane would be dedicated to traffic heading into Woodward.

The work for widening the railroad crossing on Austin Road to accommodate four lanes is in a second phase of improvements. The third phase of public improvements such as streets plus sewer, water, and storm pipe systems to provide access and service to the business park is expected to start this year as well and would, include bringing Austin Road south of the interchange up to federal standards for truck traffic. It will cover work on Austin Road from the railroad tracks south to the actual business park site.