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Council Supports Highway Relocation
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Riverbank City Council members have given their support to the relocation of State Route 108 from the current route through town to an alignment further to the south and within the proposed North County Corridor.

At the same time, the council declared support for Senate Bill 532 (by Senator Dave Cogdill) that limits SR 108 to between Route 132 (McHenry Avenue) and SR 120 east of Oakdale and identifies it as an interregional route allowing funding by the $91 million originally directed to the defunct Oakdale Bypass. (See related story.)

The Aug. 14 decision came the second time around for council that had postponed voting at its previous meeting due to a councilmember's conflict of interest. At this meeting, Vice Mayor Dave White stepped down from the dais and the council still had sufficient members to approve the project 3-0.

Dan Rocha, representing the project's joint powers authority, noted the corridor originally was to run from SR 99 near Salida southeast to join Claribel Road near the Oakdale Road intersection and then sweep northeast again to join SR 120 east of Oakdale.

Due to Salida's plans to expand eastward and difficulties with obtaining right of way, however, the section west of McHenry Avenue has been dropped from the plan and will be handled later by local government, leaving an 18-mile stretch from McHenry east to a SR 120 intersection.

A gathering at the Riverbank Community Center in June drew about 300 area residents, citizen Scott McRitchie noted. There were maps and knowledgeable officials available but the lack of microphones and poor acoustics of the building made it difficult to communicate, he said, and many residents came away feeling frustrated.

Rocha said officials will be better prepared when they host additional sessions and ensure the meeting place is suitable and has the proper equipment for a productive gathering.

Rocha stressed the authority is nowhere near choosing an alignment. At this point it is simply seeking a 4,000-foot wide corridor within which the chosen route will cover about 300 feet.