Local business owners, truckers and frequent travelers are likely familiar with a quandary unique to Turlock and its surrounding towns: the lack of a direct connection between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.
Since the 1990s the idea of establishing a passage to connect the two routes has been a topic of conversation, but this month steps are being taken to assess the feasibility of a South County Corridor. The Stanislaus County Council of Governments is holding several workshops in conjunction with the cities of Turlock, Newman and Patterson to kick off a feasibility study which will not only show the public potential routes, but ultimately determine if establishing one is even possible.
“It’s for the public to understand what we call the purpose and needs of the project,” said City of Turlock Director of Development Services and City Engineer Mike Pitcock. “At this point, we don’t know its costs or feasibility, so this is really a planning document.”
Workshops will be held in Turlock, Newman and Patterson at which an overview of the planning process will be discussed and the public will be able to provide input on potential alignments as well as voice concerns.
“The South County Corridor Study is a critical step for us in determining the best route to connect these vital roadways and improve mobility in the county,” said StanCOG Executive Director Carlos Yamzon. “We are looking forward to receiving input from the public, stakeholders and member agencies to help determine which route meets the goals of our region and is financially feasible to build.”
Along with making traveling more convenient for residents, the establishment of a South County Corridor would expedite commerce by providing trucks a more direct route to carry goods as many head towards the Port of Oakland for international exports.
“Economically, to connect I-5 to 99 would be extremely beneficial for towns like Turlock, Patterson and Hughson,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth, who noted that the passage would also alleviate the number of vehicles presently using back roads. “When you mix passenger cars with trucks trying to get to the 99 or I-5, that’s a safety hazard.”
“I see it as a positive to be able to move goods and people from the 99 to I-5 in a safe and good manner,” said Pitcock.
Newman’s workshop will be held on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at 938 Fresno St. Turlock’s workshop will take place on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at 156 South Broadway. Patterson’s workshop will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 at the Hammon Senior Center located at 1033 W. Las Palmas.