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Tickets await those who ignore Lathrop Road closure
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The City of Lathrop had two options when they set out to widen Lathrop Road from Harlan Road to 5th Street – either allow traffic to continue to flow freely between I-5 and Highway 99 but take six months to complete the work, or cut off through traffic and half the length of the time it will take to finish.
They chose the latter.
Last week traffic heading westbound on Lathrop Road that wasn’t destined for a residence or a property within the construction zone were diverted over to Louise Avenue and either onto I-5 or back along Harlan Road to access the Lathrop Road businesses that cut off from the eastern part of town. Eastbound traffic is being diverted at Harlan Road over to either Louise Avenue or Roth Road depending on the destination, and back onto Lathrop Road once the construction zone is cleared.
But while there are two major east-west routes on either side of Lathrop Road that makes diverting passenger vehicle traffic relatively easy for the duration of the road closure – which will last until almost Christmas – it will be especially important for truckers to pay attention to detour signs if they’re headed westbound back towards I-5 from any of the Lathrop Road businesses east of the construction area.
According to Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore, trucks are being informed that Lathrop Road is closed to them just before the Westerly Grade Separation after McKinley Avenue – preventing them from entering a situation where there only option is to drive on 5th Street which does not allow trucks.
Those that don’t heed the warning signs, he said, will likely face a ticket if they go over the grade separation which dead-ends into the end of through traffic on Lathrop Road and forces vehicles to make a left turn onto 5th Street or into Woodfield Estates.
As a result of the road closure Louise Avenue is expected to see a rise in the number of vehicles traveling on it to access I-5 or get around the road closure in order to get to Lathrop High School on Spartan Way west of the freeway. With the Flying J Travel Plaza opening last week, Roth Road is also expected to see an increase in traffic from the road closure as well as semi-trucks that are accessing the popular fueling station.
While the project has been controversial – one resident refused to sell their property to the City of Lathrop to complete its desired plan to acquire only three parcel segments on the south side of Lathrop Road – but Salvatore said that the plans have been reconfigured so that no construction will take place on private property while still maintaining the desired effect of the road-widening.
The plan to perform the overhaul has long been on the city’s planning radar – it’s listed in the city’s General Plan – and the city is currently pondering making Lathrop Road an STAA truck route that will allow 53-foot tractor trailers to travel along the path to access transportation hubs on the other side of the city and traffic passing between California’s two main north-south arterial highways.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.