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Two 99 interchanges may go green
Obama bucks could make it all possible
The weeds that grace the Highway 120 Bypass and the Highway 99 interchange could be replaced with landscaping by using federal stimulus funds. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Obama bucks  could help green two major Manteca interchanges.

Manteca municipal leaders  instead of playing defensive ball after a state snag delayed work from proceeding on the interchange landscaping for Yosemite Avenue (East Highway 120) and Highway 99 have taken to the offense and are trying to parlay the setback into a double victory for Manteca.

If they succeed, not only would the Yosemite Avenue/Highway 99 interchange be landscaped but so would the Highway 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange.

Manteca staff is working with the San Joaquin Council of Governments to secure American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds designated for state use on transportation enhancement projects to make the deal work.

The original deal went sideways when federal law prohibited the use of the California Conservation Corps for the planting work since the interchange widening and modernization included $6 million in federal dollars kicking in prevailing wage requirements.

The CCC does not pay prevailing wages. Meanwhile, Caltrans has a requirement that CCC crews must be used for such work.

Manteca, which has close to $400,000 to cover the irrigation system as well as Yosemite Avenue island work that includes a monument sign and pavers, is going after close to $1 million in the Obama bucks to landscape both interchanges and cover construction management costs.

Such a strategy would have the city and SJCOG take over 100 percent of the project.

Landscaping at the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange would not be as intense as what is envisioned at Yosemite Avenue/Highway 120.
If Manteca can pull it off, it would be a fairly impressive coup.

First, it would eliminate the perennial grass fires that have been known to shut down the busy Highway 120 Bypass/Yosemite Avenue interchange due to drifting smoke.

That interchange is where the last Manteca fire death occurred. It happened five years ago when an elderly driver was heading northbound on Highway 99 and drove into a thick bank of smoke from a grass fire in the southeast quadrant of the interchange.

In the confusion the driver unwittingly left the road and went into the middle of the burning field where his wife – who was a passenger – died from smoke inhalation.

It also would upgrade Manteca’s image given plans to place no less than five office towers overlooking the interchange that is key to the movement of goods and people in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Of course, Manteca would be on the hook to maintain landscaping not just the Yosemite Avenue/Highway 99 interchange but the Highway 99/120 Bypass interchange as well.

Bus service trial
in Veritas School area

The City of Manteca is coming to the rescue of those families who have a concern about the expanded no-bus zones around neighborhood elementary schools and high schools within the city limits put in place by the Manteca Unified School District board on a bid to save more than $300,000.

Particularly concerned were those in the Veritas School attendance area who have children that are being forced to walk down portions of Woodward Avenue without sidewalks to reach Veritas School or to walk along busy corridors crossing the Highway 120 Bypass to reach Sierra High if they have no other means of transportation.

Manteca Transit is putting in place bus service for a 30-day trial period making it possible for 90 students who attend Veritas School and 141 from the neighborhood south of the Highway 120 Bypass near Union Road that go to Sierra High to still take a bus. The service will be evaluated after 30 days.

The Manteca City Council will be updated on the servcie on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Service starts at 8:30 a.m. at Wawona Street and Union Road and then hits Airport Way and Atherton Drive at 8:35 a.m., Purple Sage Way and Sparrowhawk Street at 8:39 a.m., Pagola Avenue and Collins Street at 8:44 a.m. and Wawona Street and Union Road at 8:45 a.m.

The afternoon service starts at 3:25 p.m. The fare is 75 cents.

Manteca Police also were advised of the increase walking distance and will make sure they have Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police volunteers around schools at that time to help keep an eye on things.

Three city parks
have new signs

Signs identifying the names of three parks are now in place thanks to Jonathan Davis who took on the task as his Eagle Scout project.
The signs are at Primavera, Button Estates, and Springport parks.

Less water
saves money

A new system to dewater sewer sludge at the Manteca Wastewater Treatment plant is saving ratepayers $8,000 a month.
It has reduced the tonnage from 620 in April to 295 in July.

The city has to pay by the ton to landfill the sludge.

Manteca may add
ongoing shredding

The City of Manteca’s Solid Waste Division Shred-It event at Library Park last week that took place as part of National Night Out was a huge success. There were 179 vehicles that brought items to be shredded while 45 vehicles had enough electronic waste to fill a 20-yard bin.

A number of people had to be turned away.

The solid waste staff  is exploring purchasing a large capacity shredder to provide the  service on an ongoing basis without having to rent the Shred-It trucks.