After years of talk about paving an Oakdale Bypass, elected officials in northern Stanislaus County have grown weary of waiting for a road that would move traffic smoothly across the northern portion of the county. So they've come together to study a project of their own.
Oakdale City Council members will discuss Monday night whether to continue funding the North County Transportation Corridor Project.
The next step is preparing a Caltrans project study report. Each participating entity is considering kicking in $30,000 for the report.
Modesto, Oakdale, Riverbank and Stanislaus County have funded a draft feasibility study, which includes possible routes for the multilane expressway. The draft should be finished next month, Oakdale City Manager Steve Hallam said.
Elected officials began discussing a project of their own about 18 months ago, when they got word that the California Transportation Commission in 2006 planned to use a portion of funding for the bypass for other projects instead.
The commission agreed to return the money for the Oakdale Bypass Project in 2008 if the California Department of Transportation and the Stanislaus Council of Governments could identify an appropriate scope, cost and schedule. City, county and StanCOG officials figured money for the bypass would be jeopardized unless the project started moving forward independent of the commission, Hallam said.
Corridor project participants have done that. The next step is funding the $150,000 Caltrans study. They've also started forming a joint powers authority to ensure that project plans are realized, StanCOG Executive Director Vince Harris said at an October StanCOG meeting.
"This really came from the electeds saying we need to be more proactive," Hallam said. "It's probably been one of the most positive examples of public partnership among different jurisdictions in Stanislaus County in the 17 years I've worked in this county."
The Oakdale City Council will discuss the project at its Monday meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. in council chambers, 277 N. Second Ave., Oakdale.
Bee staff writer Eve Hightower can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2382.