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Concerns Linger Over Corridor

Concerns Linger Over Corridor

Concerns Linger Over Corridor

A citizen, left, gestures while makin...


POSTED June 23, 2009 3:31 p.m.
Plenty of people turned out at the neighboring Riverbank Community Center on June 15 for a meeting on the North County Corridor State Route 108 East Route Adoption. At an estimated several hundred, there were probably more than the California Department of Transportation expected and they were without microphones, so it was virtually impossible for the organizers to direct the confused gathering.
However, the chattering crowd made the best of it, milled around the maps and diagrams and explanatory boards for an hour or so, interrogated representatives of the California Department of Transportation about the various boards associated with the project and expressed their views loudly or in writing on the comment sheets provided.
Originally, proponents of the North County Corridor planned for a state route of freeway, or at least expressway, standards to run 25 miles from the Hammett Road intersection on Highway 99 in Salida in a southwards loop between Riverbank and Modesto and then tend northeastward again to join State Route 120 six miles east of Oakdale. Cost has been estimated at $1.2 billion.
Monday’s meeting, however, concerned only the 18 miles east of McHenry Avenue from which a new state route could follow long considered routes such as Kiernan and Claribel to the south or Patterson further to the north.
State authorities decided about three months ago they couldn’t extend the proposed corridor westward all the way to join Highway 99 in Salida because there are already two or more highway intersections close together in that city. County standards would allow connection of a county road to the freeway in Salida but stricter state standards would not permit that, said one expert at the meeting.
So many of the protests to date by farmers and other landowners about the original corridor infringing on their property may be moot since the route has dramatically changed.
For general information about the project, contact Christina Hibbard at 209-948-7889. Her e-mail is Christina_hibbard@dot.ca.gov and her address Christina Hibbard, Project Manager, California Department of Transportation, PO Box 2048, Stockton, CA 95201.
Ongoing agency coordination and stakeholder meetings are expected next followed by a public hearing on a draft program environmental impact report sometime this summer.
For funding this phase of the project, The North County Corridor Transportation Expressway Authority (NCCTEA) is using regional transportation fees and also seeking the state funding of $91 million that was originally allocated to the Oakdale Bypass project.
The NCCTEA is made up of directors Modesto Mayor James Ridenour, Oakdale Mayor Farrell Jackson, the Riverbank Mayor and Stanislaus County Supervisors William O’Brien and Jeff Grover; ex-officio members, Tony Tavares, interim director of Caltrans District 10; Vince Harris, executive director of Stanislaus Council of Governments; and authority manager Matt Machado.

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