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The bids are in for rerouting part of Highway 132 west from Modesto, a really old idea

Futuristic look at the revamped Highway 132

Here's a look into the future of Highway 132 in west Modesto, CA. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2020.
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Here's a look into the future of Highway 132 in west Modesto, CA. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2020.

Bids came in under budget for rerouting part of Highway 132 west from Modesto, an idea that dates to the 1950s.

Bay Cities Paving & Grading Inc. of Concord had the lowest bid at $92.05 million, city officials said Thursday. It could start building the 3.5-mile project if the City Council approves the contract next month.

Completion is expected in 2021, said Jaylen French, director of community and economic development for the city, last month.

The new highway segment will run about a half mile north of Maze Boulevard, the current Highway 132. The part of Maze to be bypassed has numerous homes, businesses and other traffic generators along it.

The bids were for a two-lane road without cross traffic for about three miles between Needham Street and Dakota Road, plus a half-mile of new pavement south on Dakota to the part of Maze that will remain Highway 132.

A second phase, expected by 2028, would bring the new highway segment to four lanes at an estimated cost of $132 million.

A third phase, still in initial planning, could extend the new alignment as far west as Gates Road. The current highway ends at Interstate 580.

Funding for the first phase comes from numerous county, state and federal programs. They include Measure L, a sales tax increase approved by county voters in 2016.

The new road will run just south of Kansas Avenue and have overpasses or underpasses at Rosemore Avenue, Carpenter Road, Emerald Avenue and Highway 99.

The California Department of Transportation started buying right of way for the new alignment in 1958. The land has sat vacant as the project stalled.

Caltrans also created three berms for the new highway segment with soil tainted with barium from FMC Corp., which had a chemical plant nearby. The contract calls for containing the material in the new fill and pavement, over the objections of some neighbors.

The city staff will review the Bay Cities bid and expects to present the contract to the City Council on Sept. 24. The company could start moving dirt in October.

The project engineer estimated that it would cost $103.8 million. The bids include two elements — landscaping and traffic management technology — that could be removed from the project to save money. That would bring the Bay Cities bid down to $84.78 million.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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