Drivers heading south on Yosemite Avenue or coming into town from Patterson Road found an unexpected surprise Wednesday morning, May 11 with the closure of the main artery through town. With “unforeseen circumstances” arising from construction, the city was forced to close South Yosemite Avenue between G Street and J Street. The shutting down of the thoroughfare was scheduled to last, according to the City of Oakdale, through Tuesday, May 17.
The South Yosemite Avenue construction is tied to the Pedestrian Improvement Project for the planned Oakdale Skate Park at the location. Crews already have had to remove utility poles and route electrical and cable lines underground.
According to Oakdale officials, as the site was reviewed in preparation of installing the new pedestrian island on Yosemite Avenue, it was discovered that they would need to remove pavement not only in the middle of the street, but also on the east and west sides of the roadway along the perimeter of the future pedestrian island.
When a pavement section was removed earlier in the week, work crews discovered a hole approximately a foot deep in a portion of the construction area. The contractor notified the city and indicated that the remaining pavement was too narrow to safely accommodate any lane of traffic along South Yosemite Avenue.
The city then decided that with the additional construction, the street would need to be shut down.
“This is tied to the grant funded skate park project,” Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said. “We wanted to make sure pedestrian safety improvements were made so we can more safely get pedestrians to the park from the parking lot and the west side of South Yosemite Avenue.”
Whitemyer added that there are sufficient funds available to cover the additional construction associated with the project.
The construction is part of a six-phase plan to develop the park.
Whitemyer explained that the location of the park was chosen since the surrounding neighborhoods were underserved with city parks and that the neighborhood had a lower socio-economic standing than other areas of the city.
“We don’t get the grant if it’s not in this location,” Whitemyer said of the $3.4 million federal grant. “This will be a landmark location for the city.”