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, grade-separated railroad crossings, irrigation district crossings, frontage access roads, and street realignment.”
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). Engineering 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 Torres, 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 environmental 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.