TCAG green-lights signal at Highways 198, 65 intersection

By Reggie Ellis

The Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) recently released its annual study grading 50 intersections within Tulare County.

TCAG, the agency which oversees transportation projects for Tulare County, gives each intersection a grade on a letter scale from "A", representing smooth traffic flows, to "F", congested traffic or gridlock.

No surprise to Exeter residents, the intersection at Highways 198 and 65 was not given favorable marks. For the third straight year the intersection was given a D grade for slow traffic flow and long delays.

What may surprise drivers is that D is considered "acceptable" for intersections in rural areas, such as Tulare County, by Caltrans standards. Dennis Mills, transportation engineer with TCAG, said the good news is that the intersection has been slated to receive funding within in the next year to upgrade the intersection from a four-way flashing red light to a four-way turn signal.

"There is no reason to think that construction will not start within a year," Mills said.

Mills said the project will be funded through TCAG's Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP). Unlike its 20-year Regional Transportation Plan, this document funds selected projects, is updated every two years and is submitted to the state for consideration by the California Transportation Commission. (CTC). Hearings are held by the CTC board every other year in both Northern and Southern California, leading up to the development of the final State Transportation Improvement Program, which incorporates all regional documents. Regions such as Tulare County receive 75 percent of new transportation funding in California. Caltrans receives 25 percent of new funding for interregional programs.

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