Community celebrates progress on Campus Parkway project

By JOHN MILLER
August 2, 2018

Residents, dignitaries, government officials, and stakeholders gathered together on the corner of Campus Parkway and Childs Avenue during a recent groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of the second segment of the Campus Parkway Project.

The $30 million segment will extend the four-lane expressway from East Childs Avenue to a quarter mile past Highway 140. New work will include a traffic signal at Campus Parkway and East Childs Avenue, a concrete structure crossing the BNSF railroad tracks and Highway 140, and a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 140 complete with a connector road. Construction is expected to be complete by 2021.

The overall Campus Parkway Project is expected to create a four-lane roadway extending 4.5 miles from Mission Avenue all the way to Yosemite Avenue, close to UC Merced.

“This is a big day for us here in the Merced community,” said County Supervisor Lloyd Pareira. “This project is vital to economic development, and getting people on their way to UC Merced.”

Pareira reminded the crowd that State Assemblyman Adam Gray and State Senator Anthony Cannella were vital to helping secure funding to make the project attainable in a timely fashion. “Without their help, this would be a 20- to 30-year plan instead of a three to five year plan.”

Assemblyman Gray credited the bipartisanship work on Senate Bill 132 as being instrumental in securing funding for the project.

“Senator Anthony Cannella has been tremendous in our strong working relationship, putting the community first, working towards big ideas and big projects to draw resources to a region of the state that is too often overlooked, Gray said. “This Campus Parkway is the crown jewel of that work. … I appreciate all of the work from our local and state partners that are working hard to take Campus Parkway from a sign on the freeway to a road we can drive down.”

Merced Mayor Mike Murphy said local residents are the beneficiaries of this work.

“Campus Parkway is all about connectivity, and among other things, it connects Merced to its future.”

The mayor went on to recall the positive impact that the creation of Highway 99 had on Merced in the 1960s, calling it the biggest and best thing to come to town at the time, allowing for new economic development.

“The Bellevue Corridor and the campus community south of UC Merced are expected to develop into economic centers that will provide jobs and tech innovation,” Murphy said.

The Campus Parkway entryway off Highway 99 also includes plans for a new industrial distribution center and a regional commercial center expected to create 5,800 jobs. The expanded roadway north will also cut down on hospital trip times for a large chunk of Mercedians, the mayor pointed out.

UC Merced Vice Chancellor Ed Klotzbier explained that it was exciting for the campus community to see continued investment from both the local government as well as others.

“Whether it’s the El Capitan Hotel or the Tioga Hotel [renovations], or the Downtown Campus Center, or our 2020 Project, major infrastructure projects signal to business and industry that Merced and Merced County is positioning itself for a very bright future, and we at UC Merced are proud to be a part of that endeavor.

Construction of the final segment to Yosemite Avenue is expected to begin next year. The entire Campus Parkway Corridor project is anticipated to be complete by June 2023 at a total cost of $100 million.

The Campus Parkway Corridor Project is also part of the Merced Loop System, which will circle Merced and connect the surrounding communities while helping to reduce congestion, improve connection to the existing highway systems near Merced communities, and stimulate economic development.


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