In­for­ma­tion, Con­cerns Shared Dur­ing By­pass Pub­lic Hear­ing

Riverbank News - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACKSON mjack­son@oak­dale­leader.com

What will the North County Cor­ri­dor ac­tu­ally mean for River­bank? And when will it be com­pleted?

Those are just a cou­ple of ques­tions that lo­cal res­i­dents were look­ing to get an­swered at a Thurs­day pub­lic hear­ing, hosted in neigh­bor­ing Oak­dale at that city’s Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. Of­fi­cials were on hand with a wide va­ri­ety of project boards, doc­u­ments, and in­for­ma­tion, hop­ing to an­swer as many ques­tions as pos­si­ble.

The North County Cor­ri­dor is pro­posed, ac­cord­ing to the in­for­ma­tional pam­phlet pro­vided at the hear­ing, as “a free­way/ ex­press­way with in­ter­changes, at-grade in­ter­sec­tions, grade­sep­a­rated rail­road cross­ings, ir­ri­ga­tion dis­trict cross­ings, frontage ac­cess roads, and street re­align- ment.”

The goal of the project is to im­prove re­gional traf­fic cir­cu­la­tion, ben­e­fit com­merce in the area, ac­com­mo­date fu­ture traf­fic as the re­gion con­tin­ues to grow, re­duce traf­fic de­lays through com­mu­ni­ties and re­lieve ex­ist­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Dis­play boards cov­ered ev­ery con­ceiv­able topic, from how much agri­cul­tural land could be im­pacted by the dif­fer­ent route op­tions be­ing con­sid­ered to the pro­jected fund­ing to the var­i­ous steps in the lengthy process.

Thurs­day’s hear­ing ran from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Gene Bianchi Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Oak­dale and though there was no for­mal pre­sen­ta­tion, of­fi­cials from a num­ber of agen­cies were on hand for dis­cus­sions with at­ten­dees. Writ­ten com­ments could be left be­hind as well and or­ga­ni­za­tions co­op­er­at­ing in host­ing the hear­ing in­cluded the Stanis­laus Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments (StanCOG), Stanis­laus County, the City of River­bank, the City of Oak­dale and the City of Modesto.

The North County Cor­ri­dor will skirt around the cities, al­le­vi­at­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion, while still pro­vid­ing easy ac­cess to busi­nesses and ser­vices to trav­el­ers.

Es­ti­mated at 18 miles in length, the by­pass route will run from a lo­ca­tion near Tully Road in Modesto to a lo­ca­tion along High­way (State Route) 120, roughly six miles east of Oak­dale. The spe­cific route has not yet been de­ter­mined.

On hand to an­swer ques­tions at the in­for­mal pub­lic hear­ing were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both Cal­trans and the lo­cal North County Cor­ri­dor Trans­porta­tion Ex­press­way Author­ity (NCCTEA). Engi-

neer­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal spe­cial­ists were also avail­able to dis­cuss spe­cific con­cerns with res­i­dents.

Those that didn’t get to at­tend the hear­ing but still want to of­fer com­ments can pro­vide them in writ­ten form. Sub­mit them by Oct. 16 to Cal­trans Dis­trict 6, At­ten­tion: Juan Tor- res, Chief, Cen­tral Sierra En­vi­ron­men­tal Anal­y­sis Branch, P.O. Box 12616, Fresno, CA 93778-2616.

Span­ish trans­la­tors were pro­vided for the hear­ing and court re­porters also were able to take down com­ments from res­i­dents who pre­ferred to dic­tate them in­stead of writ­ing them down.

Fund­ing for the project ap­proval and en­v­i­ron- men­tal phases is be­ing pro­vided through the State Trans­porta­tion Im­prove­ment Pro­gram, along with lo­cal de­vel­op­ment im­pact fees. Po­ten­tial fund­ing sources for con­struc­tion of the by­pass it­self were listed as the State Trans­porta­tion Im­prove­ment Pro­gram, the Lo­cal De­vel­op­ment Im­pact Fees, Oak­dale By­pass Project Funds and Mea­sure L.

MARG JACKSON/THE NEWS

Dozens of boards were set up in the Oak­dale Com­mu­nity Cen­ter on Thurs­day, Sept. 7 for a pub­lic hear­ing on the North County Cor­ri­dor Project, with the goal of pro­vid­ing plenty of in­for­ma­tion for res­i­dents on the var­i­ous op­tions un­der re­view for the by­pass project that will im­pact River­bank, Oak­dale and Modesto.

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