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Work has begun on roundabouts
• On Morgan Road and at Pine/Central
Morgan aristocrat.jpg
Construction crews were staging on Morgan Road just south of Aristocrat Drive for a new roundabout project which isn’t scheduled to be completed until this November. The pipe and underground boxes will be installed because of a change in the curb and connected storm drainage. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Road work is nearly over – minus pending striping – for the Mitchell and Service roads project in anticipation of the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center.

But two more road projects are taking off which could back up traffic around three schools.

In July the Ceres City Council awarded a $1.6 million contract to George Reed Inc. to build two new roundabouts. The city has engineered new roundabouts for:

• Central Avenue between Industrial Way and Pine Street;

• Morgan Road and Aristocrat Drive.

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.

Construction is expected to stretch into the middle of November.

A pile of concrete vaults and piping were placed on Morgan Road at Aristocrat yesterday, evidence of the great amount of underground work that needs to be installed for modifications to the existing storm drainage system.

“With the way the road configuration is changing to channel people into that roundabout – basically we’re changing the curb lines – it creates some spots where we need to add additional drainage,” said Wells.

Signage is in place but the work could cause delays for those who drive to nearby Sinclear Elementary School just south of the work area.

Traffic to both Don Pedro Elementary and Central Valley High School could be impacted by the work to start at the intersection of Central Avenue/Pine Street/Industrial Avenue. The new roundabout will be designed as more egg-shaped rather than a typical circle. City Manager Toby 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.

Some in the community have criticized the cost of the two roundabouts but Wells said construction costs are rising in California. 

He also noted that the projects are not coming out of the city’s General Fund.