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City plans big capital projects for 2016
Mitchell, Whitmore work set
The city will be widening Whitmore Avenue and its intersection with Morgan Road. Temporary traffic signals seen here will be replaced with permnant lights on poles. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Another paving job for Mitchell Road is in store for Ceres in 2016. It's among a number of expensive projects that are scheduled to be completed in the new year.

Mitchell Road will continue to be improved with a $741,629 contract for an overlay awarded to Knife River Construction. The new work will resurface Mitchell Road from Whitmore Avenue to Roeding Road. In recent years the city of Ceres has accomplished the resurfacing of Mitchell Road from the Tuolumne River bridge to Whitmore Avenue.

The overlay will be similar to the 2013 overlay involving rubberized asphalt. A $50,000 grant from Cal Recycle encouraged the city to go with the more expensive rubberized asphalt. The Mitchell Road project began in October but has been suspended due to weather and temperature requirements. The project is scheduled to commence and be completed in the spring.

Off the beaten path will be a more expensive project: The extension of the Mitchell Road bike path. Earlier this month the Ceres City Council awarded a $1.05 million contract to George Reed, Inc., to extend the bike trail east of Mitchell Road on the TID Main Canal down to Roeding Road. The bike and pedestrian path currently ends at Whitmore Avenue.

Once complete, the bike path will allow bicyclists and pedestrian to travel all the way from Rhode Road all the way to Richland Avenue at Hatch Road without the fear of conflicting with cars and trucks other than through intersections.

The bike/pedestrian path will have a four-foot-high fence along the entire stretch, both on the east and west side to create a safe pathway. The path will be constructed with a 10- to 12-foot asphalt concrete path. A retaining wall will be installed ranging from one and a half feet to three and a half feet tall. Light fixtures will be installed on existing poles, minor landscape/hardscape only at entryway and exit of pathway and concrete improvements for curb ramps at entry and exit way of pathway. Construction for this project will be completed before the irrigation season.

The next phase of the bike path project is in the design phase and will extend the bike path to Service Road by the fall.

On the west side of Ceres, work will continue to widen Whitmore Avenue from Morgan Road to Blaker Road as well as widen the intersection of Whitmore and Morgan.

The project was awarded to George Reed, in September and involves the installation of approximately 740 linear feet of 24-inch storm drain, 1,090 linear feet of 8-inch sewer pipe, 230 linear feet of six-inch sewer/water services including the widening and overlay of Whitmore Avenue from Blaker Road to Morgan Road. Some widening will take place on Morgan Road north of Whitmore Avenue to accommodate the traffic signal installation that is being done under a separate contract. The project began September and is scheduled to be completed by spring.

The improvements to the intersection of Whitmore and Morgan are being done by Tim Paxin's Pacific Excavation. The intersection has existing temporary traffic signals hanging from cables and lines and the current layout is not at its ultimate location and doesn't allow truck turn movements to flow easily. Improvements will include moving traffic signal and curb ramps to their ultimate position within the right-of-way, allowing for easy flow of traffic, new sidewalk, curb, gutter, restriping and lane lines and new traffic signal poles. The project is to begin soon and completed by spring.

The city is also finishing up design work on the second phase of the Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) project to add cameras and fiber optic links into city main controls. This project will extend the traffic signal connectivity to the city's system located at City Hall providing ability to troubleshoot, adjust and fix traffic signal functionality. Construction is projected in spring.

Design work needs to be completed on the Traffic Synchronization Project, which includes improvements on Hatch, Mitchell and Whitmore Avenues to improve traffic signalization and maximize synchronization in order to improve traffic flow. The project will install new traffic signal cabinets, replace battery backup systems, install detector loops, and pedestrian push buttons. Construction is projected for summer.

The city is nearing completion of the design work for the Safe Routes to Schools project for Don Pedro to Nadine Avenue. Curb, gutter and sidewalk will be installed as well as ADA ramps along corridors. In addition this project will repaint all the pedestrian cross walks throughout the route, in-pavement lighting and signage. Construction is projected for the summer.

Private business improvements which will be seen in 2016 are the remodeling of the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center at Whitmore and Mitchell.

2016 may also be the year that sees resolution to the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center project with its anchor tenant of the Walmart Supercenter. The 25-acre project was approved by the Ceres City Council in 2011 but immediately halted in court by an anti-Walmart group. A Stanislaus County Superior Court judge ruled last year that the Walmart Supercenter project has met stringent environmental reviews but the opposition group filed their appeal in January to the Fifth District Court of Appeals.