Budget Impasse Impacts U.C. Merced

September 8, 2008 10:45:00 PM PDT
A major road project that will connect Highway 99 to U.C. Merced is close to securing the funding it needs to move forward.The Campus Parkway signs are up, the project plans are complete, and now the state funding is approved.

Steve Rough, Campus Parkway Project Mngr.: "The commissioners voted to allocate 12 million dollars so we can construct the first phase of the Campus Parkway Project."

Phase one will link The Mission Avenue Interchange at Highway 99 to Childs Avenue. It's the first of three steps that will eventually create a four lane expressway all the way to Yosemite Avenue near U.C. Merced.

Larry Salinas: "It's been a long time coming, and right now this will be a good start for us to start making a good corridor to campus."

Right now the main route to U.C. Merced is down G Street, right through the city. But as the community and the campus continue to grow, the expressway is designed to alleviate congestion on surface streets.

It's also a key component for future development in the area, including the planned university community.

Steve Rough: "It's a large community with a balance of residential, commercial, and industrial and without Campus Parkway it wouldn't adequate access to develop."

Construction on phase one of the Campus Parkway Project is expected to start next March and be complete by the end of 2009. But the 12 million dollars won't be available until after the state budget is approved. Funding for the rest of the 106 million dollar project has not yet been secured. But for now university and county officials are just happy the expressway made the cut when the state chose which 8 of 14 projects to approve.

Steve Rough: "Not everyone left the meeting happy but we sure did. We were rejoicing and overjoyed, so it was a great day for Merced County."

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