City Engineer Ken Irwin said Thursday, Oct. 3 that the California Department of Transportation finally gave the go-ahead for the project along with another problem spot that will be getting a traffic signal – Hartley Street at Walnut Avenue.
The Hartley Street and Walnut Avenue Intersection signal became a necessity due to local schools sanctioned within the area, including the construction of Walnut Grove Elementary and the eventual completion of a Stanislaus County Office of Education technical school at the corner.
The project will ease traffic backups during drop-off and pick-up times for school, as well as create a safer corner for children to cross the street as they leave school grounds.
The intersection of M Street and Ward Avenue with American Eagle Parkway to the west is an epicenter of activity as students arrive at school in the morning and leave in the afternoon.
As a result, the corner of M Street and Ward Avenue is one of the busiest intersections in Patterson, and is about to receive a facelift to ease the flow of traffic.
Several schools are near the intersection, including Del Puerto High School, Sacred Heart Catholic School and Northmead Elementary School, while cars heading toward Creekside Middle School and Patterson High School contribute to traffic backups.
The plan entails retooling the intersection without reconstructing that corner, using only existing street space. New traffic signals will go up, and the roadway will be restriped to create left-turn lanes in every direction. The council agreed to move forward with the proposal after consulting with local residents on Dec. 6, 2011.
Under the plans, space now used for curbside parking will become right-turn and straight lanes, and the present traffic lanes would become dedicated left-turn lanes.
The new corner will be designed to relieve congestion at peak times, Jorritsma said.
Money for the project is coming from a city gas tax fund, not the general fund. Construction was originally expected to start in late 2012, but is now expected to begin in December.
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