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Woodward Ave. transformation is now underway
This photo by Ken Cantrell of Viewpoint Aerial Photography ( ) shows work on Woodward Avenue west of Airport Way. - photo by Photo courtesy of Viewpoint Aerial Photography

Eighteen months from now the last remnants of the country road known as Woodward Avenue within the city limits will become a wide two-lane boulevard with the largest tree-lined median in Manteca.

“It (Woodward Avenue) will be complete (for 2.5 miles) except for curb and gutter that will go in when housing development does,” noted Manteca Public Works Director Mark Houghton.

The road work is the final phase of the project that will save over $8 million, make improvements along Woodward Avenue on 2.5 miles west of Main Street in one fell swoop, and set the stage for 20 plus years of growth.

The $9 million “Woodward Avenue Utilities and Street Improvement Project” is being undertaken by Floyd Johnston Construction of Clovis. Growth fees are picking up 100 percent of the tab.

The project entails putting in place a major sewer trunk, storm system lines, and street improvements on Woodward between South Main Street and a point roughly midway between McKinley Avenue and Airport Way. The road will be rebuilt with a number of the planned landscaped medians having trees planted. The reconfiguration of the road follows a City Council directive to keep Woodward as a two- lane road instead of widening it to four lanes west of Main Street.

The end result by late 2012 will give the city the ability to accommodate additional growth to the south plus have in place a wide two-lane Woodward Avenue broken up by a median designed eventually to have stately shade trees in a bid to blend development in seamlessly with the existing semi-rural character of some 70 homes already in place along the roadway.

It involves digging deep trenches for sewer lines as well as storm drainage lines. To minimize inconvenience to residents and to avoid a repeat of the 16-month closure that occurred on East Woodward Avenue between Van Ryn Avenue and Moffat Boulevard, only a half mile at a time on Woodward will be closed to allow for work to be done. Residents will still have access to their driveways. It could take as long as 18 months for all of the work planned along Woodward to be completed.

The work includes 6,610 linear feet of median curbing or more than 1.2 miles of landscape planters that will have 146 trees planted in them the contractor will also restore 69 private driveways and restore 950 feet  of private fence by the time all of the work is completed.

Originally the entire wastewater collection system south of the 120 Bypass was estimated to cost $32 million based on the 2006 wastewater collection master plan. Developers questioned whether the plan - which they termed “a Cadillac” because it relied 100 percent on gravity flow was economically and physically feasible. They contended the price would drive up the cost of housing to the point of being prohibitive and that it would be subject to near impossible construction requirements and possible future failure due to high water table combined with the sandy loam soil.

.The decision to do all the work at once means the road will only have to be disturbed once for major utilities. The water line and fire hydrants have been in place for more than a decade.

Manteca is borrowing $9 million from the Public Facilities Improvement Plan transportation accounts paid for by growth to fund the project. Fees collected from future growth will repay the loan plus interest at a fixed annual rate of 2 percent.