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New roundabout, Lions Park included in list of city projects
• City of Ceres busy with multiple capital improvement projects
Lions Park site develop
Construction activity will begin next year at the site of the future Lions Park in north Ceres. It is located on River Road between Thompson Road and Peter John Way. - photo by Jeff Benziger

A new roundabout for the intersection of El Camino Avenue and Pine/Park Street at the base of the Pine Street freeway overpass is in the design process.

A memo to the Ceres City Council from Public Works Director Jeremy Damas said the new roundabout will provide traffic calming measures while improving traffic flow. It will also help, he said, in the detours once the city and Caltrans begin building the new Service/Mitchell/ Highway 99 interchange.

Currently the roundabout is in the preliminary design stage with GDR Engineering working on the topographic survey and mapping.

The roundabout will be at the eastern portion of the Pine Street Overpass, east of the new roundabout at Pine Street/Central Avenue/Industrial Way. Also this year the city finished a new roundabout at Morgan Road and Aristocrat Drive.

Also in the design stage are the first phases of construction of both Lions Park and Eastgate Park. Both designs are about 90 percent complete with GDR Engineering preparing construction plans for Lions Park and O’Dell Engineering preparing the construction plans for Eastgate Park. All design work should be completed by the end of the year.

Ten acres of land for Lions Park was purchased by the city over a decade ago. Until now, a lack of funds have prevented the city from making improvements to the site which is located on River Road between Thompson Road and Peter John Way. The first phase of the playground area will be going out to bid this year and ready for use by summer of 2020.

Eastgate Park is also on the same time schedule.

The city is budgeting about $800,000 for each project, funded out of Public Facilities Fees paid by past developers. City Manager Toby Wells said there is also the potential for some state funding.

Other projects in the works

The city is also making plans to grind and overlay the asphalt pavement on Blaker Road from Service to Hackett roads and upgrade ADA sidewalk ramps. Construction is anticipated to start in the spring.

Improvements will also be made in the Westpointe area of Ceres, including replacing and removing landscaping, mostly in the medians in Malik Avenue and Aristocrat Drive, installing cobbles in those medians. Also the city will be removing the bathroom building from Strawberry Fields Park, and installing new playground equipment. The design, which is 75 percent complete, is being completed by GDR Engineering and Pennino Landscape Architecture.

The older Morrow Village area will see new sidewalks primarily in the area bound by Garrison, Mitchell, Whitmore, and Moffett. The project will be funded by HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds and is anticipated to be constructed by June. The project design is just starting and will be completed in-house by city engineers.

Damas reported that the city is also planning to do some critical maintenance on the sewer main pipeline to the Turlock wastewater treatment plant. Next summer the city plans to video inspect several segments of the critical 18-inch pipeline, dewatering, replacing several blow-offs, and replacing approximately 40 galvanized steel air release valve assemblies with stainless steel assemblies.

A portion of treated effluent from the Ceres wastewater treatment plant is piped to Turlock where it is treated.

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) in the construction phase include:

1). The second phase of the Ceres River Bluff Park’s Lower Terrace. The project was put on hold on for almost a year due to environmental permitting and scheduling issues associated with the environmentally sensitive riparian habitat of the Tuolumne River. Contractor Hanford ARC started construction on Sept. 3. The final environmental permits required the contractor to put off construction of pedestrian bridges, a dock, and a kayak ramp until next summer.

2). Installation of a sand filter on Well #23 on Hatch Road about 400 feet west of Moffett Road. Construction began Aug. 26. The filter is necessary to remove sand from the water produced by well 23.

3). Pavement resurfacing of segments of Eastgate, Helen Perry, Nadine, Stonum, as well as many other local/residential streets throughout Ceres. The work also includes street name and traffic control signs, crack sealing, and striping.

4). Rehabilitation and upsizing of the existing sewer lines and manholes in Sixth Street, Park Street, and El Camino in downtown Ceres. The work was deemed critical in the Sewer Master Plan for the overall capacity of Ceres’ sewer system. This project is ready for construction, but likely won’t start until March to avoid the rainy season and to accommodate Rolfe Construction’s workload and schedule.

5. Construction of a 16-inch diameter sewer line at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and abandoning an old force main in Morgan Road.

6. Improvements to Whitmore Avenue to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility, as well rehabilitate street pavement between Moore Road and Eastgate Blvd. The project includes constructing a median, median fence, a signalized pedestrian crossing at Moore Road as well as water, sewer, and storm drain improvements. Property owners living on the south side of Whitmore Avenue, who have recently been annexed into the city limits, have dedicated right-of-way necessary to accommodate this project. The city will work with those owners to replace fencing, driveways, landscaping, and grade on their properties. This project is scheduled to start in the spring.

7. New electrical service in downtown Ceres as well as new street lights and electrical conduits on El Camino Avenue, North Street, and possibly Third Street and in Whitmore Park. The project is set up with bid alternate packages, which allows the city to select the specific scope work depending on the actual bids received.