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Caltrans announces projects to improve roads in Merced County

The California Department of Transportation closes a section of Highway 59 at the intersection of Sandy Mush Road in rural Merced County, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Caltrans announced Wednesday, March 13, 2019, that multiple projects are planned to improve the safety and conditions on roads in Merced County.
The California Department of Transportation closes a section of Highway 59 at the intersection of Sandy Mush Road in rural Merced County, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Caltrans announced Wednesday, March 13, 2019, that multiple projects are planned to improve the safety and conditions on roads in Merced County. akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

The California Department of Transportation said is it breaking ground on several projects to improve roads in Merced County, according to a news release.

According to Caltrans, the projects will provide new pavement, upgrade drainage systems and improve traffic safety in areas of Merced County.

One of the projects Caltrans announced is scheduled to enhance the intersection of northbound and southbound Highway 59 at Olive Avenue and Santa Fe Drive in Merced. The estimated $5.7 million project includes widening of the intersection to install curb ramps. The project also includes plans for a crosswalk with new signals to improve timing and an extension of turning lanes to avoid traffic backups, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans said construction for this project is expected to begin in April and conclude in September.

An estimated $12.1 million project will take place to repave 68 miles of Interstate 5 from the Fresno County line to Highway 152 near Los Banos, Caltrans said.

Construction for the passageway that supports commercial traffic as well as commuters and local residents is scheduled to begin in April and continue into November, according to the release.

Caltrans said an estimated $390,000 project is scheduled to replace underground drainage system culverts in four locations in Merced County. These locations are near Sandy Mush Road, the Merced River bridge on Highway 59, near Los Banos Creek in Gustine and the Le Grand Canal on State Route 140, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans said the upgrading of the culverts will mitigate potential flooding and keep the roadways clear and safe for motorists. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and conclude in August.

An estimated $5.5 million seismic retrofitting project is planned to take place on three bridges located along the California Aqueduct in Merced and Stanislaus Counties, according to Caltrans.

The project will bring the three bridges up to current structural standards to prevent potential catastrophic damage that could occur during future earthquakes. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and conclude in the spring of 2020.

An estimated $4.6 million project is scheduled to re-stripe all of State Route 152 in Merced County, from the Santa Clara County line to the Madera County line, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans said the project will increase the striping size from 4 inches to 6 inches. The new reflective material is scheduled to be used during the project to enhance visibility during nighttime and wet weather conditions. Construction is scheduled to begin in April and conclude in August, Caltrans said.

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