MODESTO, Calif. — The State Route 132 West project has been a goal for the city of Modesto for 60 years.
Highway 132 currently runs through streets in Modesto, causing issues with congestion, shipping, and even pollution due to idling vehicles. The project is supposed to make the area safer and keep trucks moving by relieving some of the traffic on Maze Boulevard.
The long-anticipated $100 million project received over 70% of funding from the state and federal government, with a majority from the state. The local region funded about 30% of the project.
The city of Modesto is managing the project; partnering with Caltrans, Stanislaus County, Stanislaus Council of Governments, as well as the state and federal government.
“We are an economy that produces agriculture and manufacturing, so we do need to get our goods to market. The more efficiently that we can get it to market, the better,” said Modesto Community and Economic Development Director, Jayden French.
He says it'll connect people with I-5 and the Bay Area, benefitting companies looking to get into the Bay Area market.
“The intent of the access-controlled expressway is to improve flows and reduce delay,” said French.
William Bayer says these are welcome changes. He used to work in Vernalis and commuted to the Modesto area, often getting stuck in traffic and even once getting in an accident.
“Hopefully it will cut down the commute time if you're going out that way and make it safer if you're going through town,” said Bayer.
It's currently a two-lane highway, and the new expressway will end up being four lanes with a separating barrier for safety.
The three-phase project will eventually create roughly 10 miles of expressway to Gates Road. Right now – at the end of Phase One – you'll see nearly four miles of the two-lane expressway from Highway 99 to Dakota Avenue.
City officials say the expressway from Franklin Avenue to North Dakota Avenue is open and the 132 connections to SR-99 are slated to open by the end of next week. Read more about the project and get updates here.