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TID approves $75K Don Pedro boat launch project
New construction is aimed at alleviating boating congestion at the Fleming Meadows boat launch area on Don Pedro Lake. - photo by Photo Contributed

As the only boat launch ramp available with current Don Pedro Lake elevation levels, the Fleming Meadows launch ramp has encountered troublesome boating traffic, significant wait times and substantial labor hours to manage the ramp during peak operation times.

The time-consuming congestion is not only due to Fleming Meadows being the only boat launch available, but at lake elevation levels between 680 feet and 711 feet, the launch surface is reduced from five concrete lanes to two lanes.

“All boating traffic launches at Fleming Meadows and when it reduces down to two lanes, there are significant waits,” said Don Pedro Recreation Agency Department Manager Carol Russell, “even with the amount of staff that we put down there to direct traffic.”

In an effort to alleviate the boating gridlock at Fleming Meadows, Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors unanimously approved on Tuesday to include an additional $75,000 in the 2015 DPRA Capital Budget that will go towards doubling the ramp surface area to four concrete lanes.  

“Obviously, as Carol was saying, we’ve had a few complaints from our regular users about the delay on the ramp,” said Director Michael Frantz, who is also a member of the DPRA Board of Control. “So we thought it would be timely to try, even though it meant a budget amendment, to sneak in the work now as opposed to next year.”

Russell said that lake level projections for October and November present an opportunity to widen the concrete surface area and double the capacity of the ramp. The launch ramp surface project will also reduce required staffing at that location and improve boater satisfaction when lake levels range between 680 feet and 711 feet. 

“We have done the work to plan this project, and it’s about $75,000 in additional expenses,” said Russell. “DPRA staff will able to do this project and we could do it this fall while water level allows it.

“We anticipate about a two week project,” added Russell.

It is projected that the DPRA Operating Account will have sufficient funds available to cover the additional expense, according to Russell. The DPRA Board of Control has already approved to add the concrete surface to the Fleming Meadows launch ramp during their Sept. 11 meeting.

“With their approval, they also recommended that TID and MID (Modesto Irrigation District) boards subsequently approve the project and addition to the capital funds,” said Russell.

Russell said that MID is slated to consider the DPRA Capital Budget addition sometime next week.