Caltrans Completes Highway 99 Widening Project Through Manteca

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MANTECA --

Traffic flowed smoothly during the morning commute Wednesday. It wasn't bumper to bumper or even congested thanks to a newly completed Caltrans road widening project two years in the making.

"Each individual should recognize about a 16 minute savings in time. That is a big difference for those who want to get through this area especially through peak hours," Dennis Agar, Caltrans director for District 10, said.

The Highway 99 project started in Stockton and runs all the way to the Yosemite exit at Highway 120.

Andrew Chesley, the executive director of the San Joaquin Council of Governments, said this project will not only save drivers time, but it will help the entire state's economy.

"Highway 99 has been referred to as the main street of California. It's the work horse of the state of California. When you look at the percentage of truck traffic, this is the place where commodity and goods movement really makes a difference," Chesley said.

Along with the widening of Highway 99 to six lanes, Chesley said Lathrop and French Camp Roads are now more user friendly. The new on- and off-ramps encourage drivers to get off the road and spend money in Manteca.

"French Camp Road is definitely easier to get on and off, both as a safety prospective and an operational prospective, and here at Lathrop Road, a real entrance now to the city of Manteca," Chesley said.

The project was funded by two voter measures -- $89 million came from a 2006 voter-approved transportation bond. The remaining $36 million came from a local 1 cent sales tax.

"It really pulls together a project that is the wish and the will of the state of California," Chesley said.

The project also constructed a sound barrier wall for residents and a concrete median to improve safety.