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Riverbank Leaders Weigh New Corridor Alternatives

Now that the City of Oakdale has made its choice known for the North County Corridor project, members of the Riverbank City Council are likely to also vote on the issue soon.

Oakdale’s City Council voted 4-0 in favor of their preferred alternative for the North County Corridor Project, Alternative 1B, at a Sept. 18 council meeting.

“The preferred alternative was 1B; that’s the one that runs closest to the city,” said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer. “It is the one that impacts the least number of homes, the least number of businesses.”

Whether or not it is the route ultimately selected remains to be seen.

“It is a big decision, although the City Council is not the lead agency, we do have our preferred alternative,” Whitemyer added.

He noted that 1B is also about $11 million less costly than Alternative 2B.

Caltrans is the lead agency on the North County Corridor Project and recent public hearings, including one hosted earlier this month at the Gene Bianchi Community Center in neighboring Oakdale, have gathered input and provided plenty of information for residents on the potential impacts of the different alternatives. Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien was among those in attendance at that hearing, and many residents have also followed the planning process.

The comment period on the EIR for the North County Corridor project is currently open and will remain so through Oct. 16.

Riverbank officials, along with those in Modesto and Stanislaus County, previously indicated they were likely to go along with Oakdale’s choice, as the alternatives more directly impact that city than others along the corridor route.

Whitemyer said he anticipates it could take “up to a year” for an agency review of all the comments submitted on the EIR and a formal selection of the route is also still a long way off.

But with the council giving the nod to their preferred alternative, he said that does send a message to lead agency Caltrans.

“It is a big deal,” Whitemyer said.

If the three other entities agree with Alternative 1B, it could also help sway the Caltrans decision.