The interchange is expected to incur an increase in traffic due to trucks from logistics centers that are already built and new businesses expected to build over the next decade.
Calling it a high priority project, City Engineer Ken Irwin said the project could begin construction in five years.
“What’s taking so long?” Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten asked Irwin during the discussion period on the item at the Council meeting. “I mean this should’ve been started when we were making deals with these big trucking firms.”
Irwin said that the time frame is typical for a project of this magnitude. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) first approved a project study on the interchange in September of 2002.
Because the project is outside the city limits and has not been annexed into the city, Patterson must partner with Stanislaus County on construction, he said.
A project approval document and an environmental document are expected to take 18 months to produce, followed by another three-year process from the California Department of Transportation. The next phase of the project will also include 30 percent of the drawings.
No costs have been fully vetted out yet on the project, but Irwin expected the new interchange—which will be in place for 20 years—to include designated turn lanes and traffic signals, which would cost roughly $7 to $10 million to construct.
Costs for the project approval and environmental documents will also cost somewhere close to $1 million, according to a staff report prepared by Irwin and Capital Projects Manager Curtis Jorritsma.
Irwin said there would be an interim project expected to last 20 years and a long term upgrade that will be built after that.
The project is required to be in place after just 3 percent of the proposed Arambel and KDN Enterprises Business parks are built. Those projects were submitted to the county’s land planning agency, the Local Agency Formation Commission, for a third time earlier this month.
The original interchange was built in the middle 1960s to serve Patterson, which was in the middle of a housing boom. Another housing boom occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Caltrans approved the project study report.
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