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Cold hampers completion of interchange
Early projections had the Whitmore / Highway 99 interchange project being completed by Thanksgiving. That obviously did not happen. Now it seems the project is not expected to be finished before New Year's.

The project, which is being managed by Caltrans, won't be finished soon because of weather.

"The main thing left is paving and it totally depends on warmer weather," said Ceres City Engineer Glenn Gebhardt. "We need temperatures of 50 degrees and rising for paving operations. And as soon as you get into December there are months you can't pave for months. We would need a warm December in order for things to progress faster. It's not likely to be done before the end of the year."

Rain is expected this week.

Scattered paving jobs are needed to open up the new road paths to traffic, particularly the northbound Highway 99 offramp at Whitmore Avenue. Gebhardt noted that most of the required paving is at Central and Whitmore avenues.

After paving comes striping, which requires dry weather, he added.

Construction crews have concentrated in recent weeks on such jobs as affixing railing to the new overpass.

"It's progessing well and they're months ahead of schedule," said Gebhardt. Caltrans is reluctant, however, to offer the city a completion date.

Contractually the work must be finished by July 2012.