Grand opening held for Veterans Boulevard overpass in northwest Fresno

The overpass will also give residents a way to quickly travel to work, school, shopping, dining, entertainment venues and more.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Grand opening held for Veterans Boulevard overpass in northwest Fresno
The city of Fresno held an official grand opening ceremony for the Veterans Boulevard overpass Monday morning.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Fresno held an official grand opening ceremony for the Veterans Boulevard overpass Monday morning.

Councilmember Mike Karbassi, who oversees the area where the overpass is located, says it is the largest public works project in the history of the city.

As drivers prepare to hit the road for a busy travel week, it'll be a little easier to get around Northwest Fresno.

Highway 99 and the railroad tracks have long split apart neighborhoods in the area and made it hard to get in and out.

Since 1984, city leaders have envisioned a road to connect the area. That vision is finally a reality with the new interchange complete at Veterans Boulevard.

"Fresno's population has since that time increased by more than 170,000 people, and much of that growth has occurred to the west, west of 99 freeway," said Mayor Jerry Dyer of Fresno.

An estimated 70,000 cars are expected to travel in and around the interchange with Highway 99 daily, connecting the area that's been called "Forgotten Fresno."

Something city leaders have been trying to fix for decades.

"What has been for generations the real dividing line is Highway 99. Highway 99 has determined whether or not you live near a grocery store or not, whether you live near a health clinic or not," said Mike Karbassi with Fresno City Council, District 2.

Veterans Boulevard cuts a diagonal path across Northwest Fresno, connecting Shaw, Barstow, Highway 99, Golden State, Bullard, and Herndon.

It will officially open overnight between 2 and 5 a.m., so come Tuesday morning, all drivers should be able to enjoy the new route.

At a celebration on Monday, Valley leaders, past and present, hint at future projects and the importance of paying tribute to those who helped get us here.

"And should I say what will be the next project on 99 and Fresno, Shaw Avenue, I'm hoping collectively together, we can get that done," said Diana Gomez, Caltrans District 6 Director.

"And when you drive on this freeway, or this overpass, and you get to the top of it, slow down a little bit, look at the blue sky. I'm a man of faith, and I know that there is something after this, and those veterans that gave it all are looking down, and they are saying thank you," mentioned Phil Larson, former county supervisor.

For a project nearly 40 years in the making many were on hand to see the completion, come Tuesday morning all travelers will be able to drive on the new interchange.

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