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Woodward work: Done before November
Intersection at Union Road expected to reopen next week
Deep and wide trenches are being cut under Union Road at Woodward A venue to install trunk lines for sewer and storm lines. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Rural residents who rely on South Union Road are frustrated about being forced into a detour that adds six miles to any round trip they take into Manteca.

It is all because of work on sewer and storm drain lines along Woodward Avenue that has forced the closure of the Union Road and Woodward Avenue intersection.

Worries have been voiced that the closure may be a repeat of the 18 months East Woodward was closed several years ago for similar work east of Woodard Avenue. That forced residents to take a 10-minute detour when traveling to and from their homes.

Public Works Director Mark Houghton said this week that the intersection will be open again shortly after Labor Day although it won’t be paved yet. It will be subject to intermittent closures until all work is completed on Woodward Avenue by the end of October.

And as far as residents living on a rural stretch east of Pagola Avenue having to face dodging construction work in front of their homes, that won’t be happening for the foreseeable future. The city has dropped plans for now to extend the sewer and storm lines all the way to Woodward Park,

“We’ll do that work several years down the road,” Houghton said. “By reaching Pagola we are able to get everything that is necessary connected.”

The further extension to Woodward Park would eliminate an existing pump station that lifts sewer from nearby homes into the rest of the city’s gravity flow pipe system.

Some rural residents south of Manteca have wanted to know why the city doesn’t simply allow construction crews to put steel plates over the trenches so vehicles can go through after work is finished each day. Houghton said that isn’t possible due to the depth of the trenches that are in excess of 10 feet and the width which easily exceeds six feet. The oversized trenches are accommodating large trunk lines. The sandy loan soil conditions also pose a problem for a temporary crossing using steel plates.

“You can use (steel) plates when the trench isn’t wider than one to two feet or deeper than three or four feet,” Houghton said.

In addition, there are manholes being installed in the intersection that create additional safety concerns until the work is completed

Houghton said the project is on target to complete all work - including paving - from McKinley Avenue to Pagola Avenue by the end of October.

The $9 million overall project is designed to put storm drains, a main sewer line, wider street, turn lanes, and a median with basic landscaping  in place all in one fell swoop to avoid going back repeatedly and making cuts into the asphalt.

Funds for the project were borrowed from growth fee accounts and will be repaid with interest from connection fees paid by future development along the 2-mile corridor that stretches from Pagola Avenue to McKinley Avenue. There are 1,500 building lots already approved along the corridor.