August 12, 2011
Tulare County obtained more than $90 million in road project funding from the state, officials with the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) announced.
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved $46.6 million for the widening of Highway 99, between Goshen and Caldwell Avenue, $14.5 million for improvements to the Plaza Drive/Highway 198 Interchange and $16 million for Road 80 (phase 3) widening. Several other Tulare County projects also received approval for more than $15 million in funding.
“I would like to give credit to the taxpayers in Tulare County for voting to pass Measure R in 2006,” said Pete Vander Poel, Chairman on TCAG. “Without Measure R, the hard work of both Tulare County and TCAG staff, funding for this award would not have been possible.”
Highway 99 Project
Due to a significant amount of cost savings from state bond funded SR-99 construction projects, the CTC programmed $46.6 million of SR-99 Bond funding for the widening of SR-99 from four to six lanes from Goshen, through the SR-198 interchange to north of Caldwell Avenue. TCAG Executive Director Ted Smalley said the project would not have been possible without the partnership of Caltrans District 6 and TCAG. Construction is expected to begin by late summer next year. The project will be ready to advertise for construction by late summer 2012.
Plaza Drive/Highway 198 Project
The CTC allocated $14.5 million of State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funding for the Plaza Drive Interchange and widening project in the City of Visalia. This project includes improving the Plaza Drive Interchange with SR-198, adding auxiliary lanes to SR-198 between the Plaza Drive and SR-99 Interchanges and widening Plaza Drive from two to four lanes between Airport Drive and Goshen Avenue.
"Visalia has always been prudent with the use of funding from the State,” said Visalia Mayor Bob Link. “Because of this careful, proactive use, securing funding for the Plaza Drive improvements is a significant job-creating achievement because this is a major access point to the Industrial Park."
Road 80 Project
The CTC allocated $16 million of STIP funding for the Road 80, phase 3, widening project between the Cities of Dinuba and Visalia. The project will widen Road 80 from two to four lanes between Avenue 342 and Avenue 384. This is the final phase of Road 80 widening between the two cities. Along with the Plaza Drive/Highway 198 project, this project will complete much needed safety and traffic flow improvements to the entire Road 80/Plaza Drive corridor from Highways 99 and 198 in Visalia to El Monte Avenue in Dinuba.
"Any time we can improve our roads systems between cities throughout Tulare County we all benefit," said Mike Ennis, Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.
Avenue 416 Project
The CTC programmed $5 million of State-Local Partnership Program (SLPP) funding for the Avenue 416 widening project in the City of Dinuba. The SLPP funding is leveraged with Measure R and City of Dinuba funding to widen Avenue 416 from two to four lanes between Road 56 and Road 80. The project is expected to begin construction next summer. In recognition of counties and cities that have passed local and regional transportation sales taxes, the State included SLPP funding as a part of the Proposition 1b transportation bond. Tulare County would not have been eligible to receive SLPP funding without the passage of the Measure R transportation sales tax.
More Transportation Project Funding
The CTC also allocated $10.5 million of State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) funding for pavement rehabilitation on SR-99 from Avenue 152 to Elk Bayou Bridge south of the City of Tulare. This project includes 10.4 lane miles of new pavement.
The CTC also released the draft program of projects for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5310 Elderly and Disabled Transit Program. Included in the program is $384,000 for four buses and other equipment for the Porterville Sheltered Workshop.