Highway 99 construction removes "cheap" gas station

March 13, 2013 12:05:57 AM PDT
For travelers looking for cheap gas along Highway 99 the Arco station used to be the place to stop. But as of a couple of weeks ago the popular stop and a couple of other businesses were out of business because of freeway construction.

Cal Trans Public Information Officer Gloria Rodriguez explains the goal of the project. "What we are doing is we are actually reconstructing the existing interchange, and we are going to be making improvements to the northbound southbound ramps and the area east and west of Avenue 12."

Cal Trans launched this $84 million project at Highway 99 and Avenue 12 in Madera County because the 50 year old overpass is outdated. It will be expanded from two, to six lanes. The convoluted ramps are being straightened out.

Rodriguez says drivers will see a major improvement. "Folks are going to see a lot easier to get on and off."

But right now, drivers like Monique Chavira of Madera, who is used to gassing up here is disappointed.

"Now that there's no gas stations here everybody has to go further down or go into town before going in to Fresno," said Chavira. "It was very cheap they had good prices here."

In addition to the filling stations and fast food place, the Madera Pump company has been impacted.

Owner Matt Angel says they aren't leaving, just moving their offices, back from the road a bit. "It hasn't been a problem for us they have reestablished us in a new building and we had enough land that it didn't push us out of this site."

And Cal Trans has paid for most everything.

"They have treated us fairly," said Angel. "For the inconvenience and the replacement costs they have been fair."

But he and his employees miss the convenience of those convenience stores. "It was nice to have them here, it was convenient for our guys we had a Subway a Jack in the Box. Those are always nice to have for your employees."

The overpass project is expected to take a couple of years. Once the dust has settled gasoline stations and convenience stores are expected to reemerge nearby.


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