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Fulkerth, N. Golden State intersection to close
Fulkerth pic
The busy intersection of Fulkerth and N. Golden State Boulevard will be closed through August and part of September. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

One of Turlock’s main intersections will soon be closed for much-needed safety improvements. The intersection of N. Golden State Boulevard and Fulkerth Road/West Hawkeye Avenue will be closed starting July 31 until mid-September.

The project will include providing dual left turn lanes from all directions, bike lanes and sidewalk, installation of a new traffic signal system including advanced railroad preemption capabilities to allow adequate time for vehicles to safely clear the railroad grade crossing in the event of an approaching train, intersection lighting improvements, pavement rehabilitation and new traffic striping.

During the closure, traffic coming from Highway 99 east on Fulkerth Road will be diverted south onto Soderquist Road to West Canal Drive to N. Golden State Boulevard and back north to Hawkeye Avenue. Those traveling to businesses and residences on Fulkerth Road from east on Hawkeye will be diverted to Dels Lane north to Pedras Road to N. Golden State Boulevard and then west on Tuolumne to Tully Road and back to Fulkerth.

The City Council awarded the Fulkerth Road and Golden State Boulevard improvement project bid to George Reed, Inc. of Modesto in the amount of $1,166,617. The funding for the entire project — including the railroad agreements —is coming from federal Construction Mitigation and Air Quality funds, local Gas Tax funds and local Capital Facility Fees.

The work requires coordination with the Union Pacific Railroad so that the railroad can widen the existing at-grade crossing of the railroad tracks from 100 feet to 176 feet to allow for the additional left turn lane, bike lanes and sidewalk, as well as installation of new warning devices such as flashing warning lights and automatic gate arms.

“Road projects that provide additional safety measures for pedestrians and motorists remain a priority for this Council,” said Mayor Gary Soiseth. “After the reconstruction is completed, our community will be safer and the route to Highway 99 will be more efficient. We're asking for patience from our residents over the next few months, but we're also looking to our partner in this project, Union Pacific Railroad, to assist us in getting the intersection back open without delay.”

The last time the City of Turlock and Union Pacific Railroad worked together on an intersection project, the results were not ideal.

In August 2016, a section of Monte Vista Avenue west of Golden State Boulevard was closed as Union Pacific replaced its tracks and concrete panels within the crossing. The City of Turlock was informed the work would raise the tracks half an inch to an inch and prepared the roadway accordingly. When the work was completed, it was apparent that the tracks were raised more than one inch and the concrete panels were not flush with each other.

A bid was put out by the City to repave the road near the tracks and George Reed Inc. completed the project in December. While the new gradient made the ride over the tracks less chaotic for motorists, there remained a significant bump where the rail panels were misaligned.

Soiseth called on the help of local congressman Jeff Denham, who worked with the City and Union Pacific to help rectify the matter.

Union Pacific replaced 240 feet of concrete beds a week before Christmas and installed new rail and ties.