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$20.7M for street work in new budget
Mantecas proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 has funding for a Lathrop Road corridor study and a citywide truck route study. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Street work — repairs, extensions, corridor studies, and safety improvements — are driving Manteca’s capital improvement plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 to the tune of $20.7 million.
And that’s not all. Two major interchange projects costing $62.4 million that have $31.2 million in funding set aside already with another $12.3 million funding source identified are expected to break ground in the next 18 to 24 months.
That is on top of another $5 million plus that the Manteca City Council wants to spend to bridge the Atherton Drive gap between Union Road and Airport Way that the staff will present an updated cost analysis next month.
And while the council is likely to approve the work when they meet Tuesday to adopt the overall citywide proposed budget of $132.8 million for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, three big questions will not be answered during the 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W Center St.
uWhere will the city get $18.9 million needed to complete creating a new interchange on the 120 Bypass at McKinley Avenue and upgrading the interchange at Union Road and the 120 Bypass?
uWhen will the city update growth fees for roads that have gone for more than a decade without being adjusted for new projects growth is creating the need for and the fact construction costs are soaring?
uIs the city capable of even getting all work done that they have programmed for the next 12 months with $20.7 million already in the bank to cover the tab?
Of that $20.7 million all but $3 million had been set aside in previous budgets but the work failed to get done.

Public works
staff slammed
Part of the reason has to do with Public Works engineering staffing that is not only being slammed with growth issues related to new construction but is working on three major interchange projects including efforts to get a solution for the 120 Bypass/99 interchange and Austin Road in place, overseeing a $20 million plus  project to transform food waste into compressed natural gas to power solid waste collection trucks, as well as other projects that keep getting pushed back such as the solar farm to help cut power costs at the wastewater treatment plant. That is on top of dealing with state and federal mandates to address storm water, devise and implement a recycled wastewater policy, and to come up with a plan to not pump more groundwater than is replenished in a given year. Public Works also has to address day-to-day operations as well as issues that pop up.
It also hasn’t helped that Public Works limped along for much of the past 11 months after former City Manager Elena Reyes appropriated a public works deputy director — Greg Showerman — to serve as assistant city manager when she declared her workload was too heavy to handle shortly after she started in July 2016. Showerman became acting city manager in November of 2016 when the council placed Reyes on paid leave. Right around then another deputy director took a more lucrative job in the private sector. The city and Reyes parted ways in April of this year. Meanwhile to save money, the city never filled Showerman’s position. Then in March when they appointed Showerman to serve as community director once a new city manager is in place, they authorized filling his old position in public works.

Projects have had
funding for a year or
more but no physical
work has been done
The city has been setting on $5.9 million in federal and state grants aimed at replacing all street and traffic signs with those that meet a higher standard for reflecting light and thus have a greater visibility at night as well as implementing technology allowing for better timing of traffic signals to improvement traffic flow.
Seven road projects have been funded for one to three years but nothing has happened in terms of physical work. They include:
$1.2 million to extend Milo Candini Drive from the northern edge of the Big League Dreams sports complex to Yosemite Avenue.
$2.46 million for adding a continuous left turn lane along Airport Way between Daniels Street and Yosemite Avenue.
$1.5 million to replace or restore pavement on Yosemite Avenue between Cottage Avenue and Main Street.
$1.8 million to replace or restore pavement on Main Street between Yosemite Avenue and Atherton Drive.
$1 million for replacing the bulbs in the 100 block of North Main Street and reconfiguring travel lanes.
$1 million for improved pedestrian crossing on Woodward Avenue at Wellington Avenue as well as Pillsbury Road.
That does not include $1.2 million to rebuild the streets in the Springtime Estates neighborhood that were constructed in the late 1980s without the proper base. The city also has $2 million budgeted for street slurry coating and another $700,000 earmarked for streets that need more extensive road work.
Added to the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 is $150,000 for a Lathrop Road corridor study to determine needed future improvements. The city has also earmarked $125,000 for a citywide truck route study and adoption.

Two interchange projects
could start in late 2018
Unspent redevelopment bond revenue of $15.2 million has been set aside to build the Milo Candini Drive extension, cover $10 million of the Union Road interchange improvements, and $4 million toward the McKinley Avenue interchange.
Work on the $21.2 million widening of Union Road to four lanes across the 120 Bypass by employing the state’s first converging diamond interchange design is targeted for late 2018 or early 2019. The city still has yet to determine how to pay for $11.2 worth of the project.
The city is now in the process of buying right of way and designing the McKinley/120 Bypass interchange that has a $41.2 million price tag. It is considered crucial to the full development of the 60-acre plus waterpark resort hotel complex and the family entertainment zone. The city still has to find $7.7 million for the interchange that is targeted to break ground in either later 2018 or early 2019.
 The council has directed staff to arrange loans from city reserves to complete Atherton Drive between Union Road and Airport. An updated capital improvement plan will be presented to the council next month for possible adoption. Ultimately the entire cost — expected to cost more than $5 million — will be covered by developers through growth fees they have already paid or will pay as building occurs.
Also, the council has directed staff to move forward with alley and parking lot improvements in downtown.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email