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Union bridge going to 4 lanes
Leftover RDA bond funds jumpstarting project
The Union Road bridge across the 120 Bypass is targeted for widening to four lanes. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The Union Road bridge crossing the 120  Bypass will have four lanes within the next three years if all goes according to plan.

The $10 million project will start moving  forward Tuesday if the Manteca City Council blesses spending $1.6 million of unspent redevelopment agency bond proceeds to identify design alternatives, update environmental clearance documents, and to design the selected bridge alternative.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin expects work to start in earnest on the bridge widening project within the next several years.

The Union Road interchange bridge deck will become the second freeway overcrossing in Manteca with four through lanes. The first will be the new Lathrop Road interchange on Highway 99. Caltrans is now building the new Lathrop Road interchange being funded with Proposition 1B state bond and Measure K sales tax funds.

Manteca Public Works staff has devised general plans for the Union Road interchange improvements. They include loop ramps allowing both eastbound and westbound traffic coming off the 120 Bypass to make right turns in both directions on Union Road. The work also will include left turn lanes on the bridge deck.

Manteca has $43.6 million in unspent RDA funds generated from long-term debt that is still available. The Union Road interchange was identified as one potential project when bond funds were secured.

The state just recently gave the city the go ahead to spend the $42.6 million on  projects that were identified in bond documents.

The fact Union Road will be the first four lane crossing of the 120 Bypass to be completed underscores how the Union Road corridor has developed.

Highway 120 Bypass motorists couldn’t even exit at Union Road in 1993.

It was simply a two-lane overcrossing with no onramps or off ramps. There was no City of Manteca south of the 120 Bypass just dairies, corn fields, almond orchards and country homes.

The interchange has been earmarked for upgrades ever since ground broke on The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. The anchor store — Bass Pro Shops — draws 2.5 million visitors a year.

The four-lane interchange will also serve existing and future residential development south of the 120 Bypass as well as future commercial along the southern side of the 120 Bypass.

Included in that mix is the 47-acre Union Crossings commercial center approved for development on the southwest quadrant of the 120 Bypass and Union Road interchange. Plans call for eight major retailers plus pads for smaller stores.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.