Traffic lights at Elm and Sycamore avenues came to life starting Tuesday, Jan. 22, and have been functional ever since.
While a small amount of paving for maintenance access still needs to be completed at East Las Palmas and Elm Avenue, the project is mostly complete, said Peter Song an assistant engineer for Stanislaus County’s public works department.
“We would have a couple of good days of sun, and then the rains would hold us back,” he said.
Song said he was excited that the signals were finally up and running. In addition to installing the traffic lights, construction workers had to cut down seven historic palm trees, widen the roadway and move some irrigation pipes
County public works officials initially had hoped to complete the project in December. However, Chris Brady, a senior civil engineer with Stanislaus County’s public works department, said last month that electrical work could be hindered by rain.
Work started on the project Sept. 17 after the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously May 8 to award a contract for $1.179 million to Stockton-based Knife River Construction to complete the project.
The county anticipates paying a total of $1.427 million, including $130,000 for inspections and testing and nearly $118,000 for other unforeseen costs. Final project costs will likely be tabulated in February, but Song said he expected the project would come in within budget.
Work on the intersections was largely funded with money from Proposition 1B, which state voters approved in 2006 to help with local transportation projects. Nearly $258,000 in regional transportation impact fees, charged to the builders of all new residential and commercial development in the county, is set to cover the rest of the cost.
East Las Palmas, which has been lined with palm trees for more than 100 years, has been the site of several notorious auto accidents, including an August 2010 crash at Las Palmas and Elm that killed James, Emma and Andrew Anderson and James Rowell.