Phase one of Veterans Boulevard project completed

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Drivers in northwest Fresno will see some big changes in the future with Veterans Boulevard.

Fresno City officials explained the expansion should help alleviate some of the congestion in the area.

On Tuesday morning officials cut the ribbon to allow traffic to flow.

Phase 1 of a project is complete and while it was a small portion, residents in the area are excited to see it open.

Tineke Farley lives nearby and said she is excited to be able to drive up and down the road.

"Oh my gosh, I can zip up that street at my favorite store in minutes instead of going all the way around and making a big u-turn. It's a mess, so this is great," Farley said.

The best part is she can now avoid the train tracks at Carnegie and Golden State, getting to Target a lot quicker.

"There is always a stupid train sitting there. So you can never get through, so it's a long way around," she said.

Eventually, drivers like Farley will not have to deal with these tracks.

The other phases of the project are expected to start next year. Ultimately, the road will go over the train tracks, the High-Speed Rail, Golden State Boulevard and Highway 99 with off-ramps ending at Shaw Avenue.

"I think that will be, but it will be some time. It's not going to happen overnight. this street took forever. So I may not be here at that point," Farley said.

However, Scott Mozier with the City of Fresno says their goal is for this to be completed by the end of 2021.

"From the standpoint of our funding partners, the Fresno County Transportation Authority and the Fresno Council Government, both of those entities have identified Veterans Boulevard as the number one regional project now to be delivered," Mozier said.

Officials are still looking for $10 million to go toward the project.

Mozier says they applied for a grant and will know in the coming months if they will get the funding.

It's unclear exactly what they will do if they do not get this grant.

"There are contingency plans in place just in case we don't get that grant. But you know what, we pay a lot of taxes in the valley and we send a lot of our taxes to the Federal Government. It would be nice if that money, instead of going to San Francisco came to Fresno for once," said councilmember Mike Karbassi.

Although there are signals at Bullard and Veterans Boulevard they are not turned on. Moizer explained they expect those to be turned on by the end of the year. For now, there is a three-way stop.
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