A bumpy ride over the railroad tracks at one of north Turlock’s busiest intersections will close Monte Vista Avenue yet again starting Monday.
The key artery to Highway 99 and Turlock’s highest volume retail area is expected to close at Golden State Boulevard from Dec. 12-15, a second four-day inconvenience for shoppers during the critical Christmas shopping season.
The city closed the same spot the week after Black Friday, a $71,530 fix intended to feather out paving over higher-than-expected tracks following Union Pacific Railroad maintenance Aug. 22-24. That summer closing blocked the straight shot from Highway 99 to California State University, Stanislaus (on Monte Vista Avenue), during the opening week of the fall semester.
Geography works against the area’s traffic flow, with retail acreage locked between the Union Pacific tracks and the highway. The railroad has refused to allow the city to cross its property at the north end of the area, Turlock city engineer Mike Pitcock said, leaving Monte Vista the only way out from Lowe’s, a half-dozen restaurants and two hotels.
During each closure, traffic is diverted to the next railroad crossing to the south, at Tuolumne Road, a mile away. The late November closure, expected to be a five-day fix, finished a day early and opened Dec. 1.
“Turlock’s staff and contractors did an excellent job opening the railroad crossing as soon as possible,” said Mayor Gary Soiseth by email Thursday.
“Unfortunately, it was discovered that the same high quality of work was not done on the actual concrete panels on either side of the rails,” he wrote. “We’ve held Union Pacific Railroad accountable for their less-than-satisfactory work and they will fix the depression in the tracks at no additional cost to Turlock’s taxpayers.”
A city of Turlock notice says, “Union Pacific Railroad has identified deficiencies with the substrate beneath the track requiring immediate correction. City of Turlock officials have reviewed the situation with UPR and concur with their assessment and necessity for immediate reconstruction.”
The upcoming closure will begin at 6 a.m. Monday and is expected to end by 5 p.m. Thursday. The work will include replacing the roadbed, rails and supporting infrastructure, as well as all new concrete panels, plus any necessary repaving to match the roadbed with the new crossing panels to provide a smooth transition.
“While the additional closure is a large inconvenience, I urge drivers to be patient as Union Pacific makes good on their promise to make the Monte Vista railroad crossing safe once again,” Soiseth said.