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Another round of streets to be sealed
• 5.5 miles to receive slurry, cape sealing
Road crews will soon be making their rounds in areas of Ceres for the next round of slurry sealing made possible by the passage of Measure L nearly two years ago. The work is intended to preserve the life of streets that were neglected for many years for lack of funding. - photo by Jeff Benziger

More streets in Ceres will be treated for longer life in a new round of work to be completed through Measure L tax revenues.

Last week the Ceres City Council awarded a $911,795 contract to American Pavement Systems of Modesto to cape seal 5.5 miles of streets. Despite the bid being the lowest with the highest coming in at $1.12 million from Telfer Pavement Technologies, it far exceeded the estimate bid of $658,500.

Sealing will include Magnolia Street, Kinser Road, Richard Way and Fowler Road through $57,000 of a Rubberized Pavement Grant program.

Most of the cape sealing will take place on streets in a large block bounded by Whitmore Avenue to the south, Boothe Road to the east, Venus Drive to the west and Fowler Road to the north. Streets to be treated include Denny and Cleta courts, Trina Lane, Lunar Drive, Puma Way, Moonview Drive, Sagittarius Avenue, Pisces Way, Uranus Drive, Milky Way, Dupre Drive and Vera Way.

An area north to Heather Lane will also be sealed, including Poppy Lane, Primrose Lane, Saturn Court, Orchid Court, Lupin Lane, Jupiter Court, Lotus Courts, and Larkspur Lane.

In addition, a small area north of Hatch Road will be treated, including Bordeaux Drive, Mondavi Drive, Moet Way, Sauvignon Drive, Merlot Drive and Columbard Way.

On Nov. 8, 2016 the voters of Stanislaus County approved Measure L for a new tax to fund street improvements. Retailers and other businesses started collecting the tax on April 1, 2016 with the receipts rolling into the county and the nine cities’ coffers. The tax revenue is a guaranteed funding source to fix roads for 25 years.

Revenues will be divided up among the nine cities and the county to spend on a myriad of road and transportation projects. At least half of the tax must be spent on local streets, mostly on filling pot holes and covering streets with slurry seal.

The city of Ceres is concentrating on treating the streets first which were identified as being in the worst condition and the last ones to have any type of rehabilitation done on them.

A list of specific Ceres streets to be slurry sealed over the next five years is available on the website, under the local investments tab. Each year’s worth of preventative maintenance is costing about $1.2 million.

The approach that Ceres is taking is to first concentrate on maintaining the streets that are at the “breaking point before they get to that next level of improvement” said City Manager Toby Wells. A slurry seal prevents roads from breaking down to the point that more expensive reconstruction is needed.

Measure L will raise an estimated $960 million, or $38 million per year, for the county and nine cities to spend on road maintenance, new road project construction, other transportation infrastructure and improved services for the elderly and disabled. Ceres will get to spend an estimated $30.5 million for local street and road repairs over the 25 years. It includes repairs for 135 separate roadway projects in the first five years.

The 25-year countywide half-cent sales tax is expected to generate $480.2 million for local streets and roads, $48 million for bike and pedestrian paths, $96 million for traffic management, $269 million for regional projects and $67.2 million for transit services.

The tax will allocate $32 million to the Mitchell/Service/Highway 99 interchange with public facilities fees and state and federal grants making up the balance.

Revenue from the new tax will not entirely pay for the $123 million Service/Mitchell/Highway 99 interchange now being planned. The rest of the project will be paid for by public facility fees, redevelopment bond proceeds and the pursuit of federal and state grants. Wells is optimistic that the tax will enable the interchange to break ground in four years and be completed in 2023.

Hughson will receive $6 million over the 25-year tax life for road maintenance and fund roundabout.

It also provides $600,000 for the Safe Routes to Schools and Hatch Road multi-use trail improvements.

Modesto gets the lion’s share of regional projects. About $25 million will go toward the upgrade of the Briggsmore-Carpenter interchange; $2.6 million to widen McHenry Avenue to five lanes between Ladd and Hogue roads; $7.9 million towards construction of a new eight-lane interchange at Standiford and Highway 99 near the Vintage Faire Mall; and $74.2 million to complete the State Route 132 by constructing a four-lane expressway from Highway 99 to Gates Road. Modesto’s share of local street fix money would total $171.8 million.