STAFF REPORTS

Photo contributed
The improvement project of the McHenry Corridor is continuing to make progress towards completion.

It didn’t seem long ago when local officials from across the region attended the McHenry Avenue Corridor Improvement groundbreaking ceremony at the corner of East River Road and McHenry Avenue. Less than a year later, the first stage of the project is nearly complete and motorists traveling along the corridor will find themselves a little closer to the sunrise while crossing the beautiful Stanislaus River.

“Thanks to the proactive efforts of a hardworking San Joaquin County Public Works Project Team, it is easy to forget that construction activities have been underway for nearly a year. The Project Team continues to implement innovative solutions to keep the public informed of construction progress and traffic conditions, and minimize impacts to the community,” said San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn.

On April 26, crews worked to implement the latest portion of the project, to have southbound and northbound McHenry Avenue traffic shifted onto the eastern half of the replacement bridge by the morning of April 27.

The new structure is already two feet wider than the existing 30-foot wide bridge. The total width of the replacement bridge will be more than 75 feet and will include a sidewalk and 5-foot paved shoulders to accommodate bicyclists.

“Transportation is critical to the Valley,” said Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock). “I’m proud of our local community for getting this done and will continue working to bring more of our transportation dollars back to the Valley.”

In addition, the temporary roundabout, dubbed as the “bean-a-bout” for its peculiar peanut-like shape, located at the intersection of East River Road and McHenry Avenue, was readjusted tonight to accommodate the traffic shift. Motorists can expect the third edition of the roundabout to be more round than its predecessors.

The project is scheduled for completion by summer of 2020; however, 50 percent of the work has already been completed. The second bridge structure, within the limits of San Joaquin County’s corridor improvements, was replaced in February 2018, a year ahead of schedule. The aging structure was inadequate and not wide enough to accommodate future traffic growth. Once traffic shifts onto the eastern half of the new McHenry Avenue Bridge over Stanislaus River, the final stage of the work will commence. Upcoming work will include the demolition of the existing bridge over the Stanislaus River and construction of the western half of the replacement bridge.

By summer 2020, the McHenry Avenue Corridor from approximately 1,500 feet south of East River Road to just south of Jones Road will boast two new modern bridges, a widened roadway with a center two-way left turn lane, and a signalized intersection at McHenry Avenue and East River Road. The corridor is designed to accommodate current and future traffic conditions.

“The benefits of this project are tremendous, and though the McHenry Avenue Bridge is one of only three Stanislaus River crossings in the area and directly connects Escalon and Modesto, the project reaches beyond San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. It will provide a safer and more traffic-efficient corridor for decades to come,” concluded San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Elliot.