Road work is continuing on two roundabouts designed to make traffic flow smoother on two routes that carry streams of cars both to and from west Ceres schools.
Construction is taking place on S. Central Avenue between Industrial Way and Pine Street; and on Morgan Road at Aristocrat Drive. The Ceres City Council awarded a $1.6 million contract in July to George Reed Inc. to build the new roundabouts. The project is funded by federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds since roundabouts save because cars often do not have to come to a complete stop, which requires greater acceleration effort from a complete stop.
The city also expects to receive $793,000 from SB 1 towards the contract. None of the project dollars are coming from the General Fund.
Much underground work has been completed at the Morgan Road/Aristocrat location for modifications to the existing storm drainage system. City Manager Toby Wells said the change of the road configuration to channel motorists into the roundabout caused changes to the curb lines and the need for additional drainage.
The Morgan/Aristocrat intersection is used heavily by those who drive to Sinclear Elementary School just south of the work area.
The exterior concrete work of the project is done and next construction will focus on demolishing the street with grading this week and forms and pouring of concrete next week. The internal circle should be completed by the end of the month with the entire project done by month’s end if weather cooperates.
The new roundabout at the intersection of Central Avenue/Pine Street/Industrial Avenue will be designed as more egg-shaped rather than a typical circle. Wells said the city’s goal is to make traffic flow better by preventing backups, especially as parents drive their students to Don Pedro School and staff and students drive to and from Central Valley High.
Landscaping for the circles within the roundabouts will be minimal with artificial turf surface with irrigation sleeves installed for future landscaping that the city is planning to add.
Some in the community have criticized the cost of the two roundabouts but Wells said construction costs are rising in California.