Traffic Splits on Visalia Road

By Reggie Ellis

@Reggie_SGN

farmersville – The City of Farmersville passed a milestone in the largest road project in the city’s history earlier this month. On June 12, road crews opened up a single lane on the south side of Visalia Road to split east and westbound traffic for the first time since starting the roadwork in March.

“The traffic is flowing better but people still need to slow down,” said city manager John Jansons. “Drivers need to realize that there is equipment and people just out of the lane so if they need to slam on their brakes there is no where they can go to avoid large, heavy equipment or possibly injuring someone.”

The primary purpose of the road construction is to widen Visalia Road to six lanes from one end of the city (Virginia Avenue) to the other (Brundage Avenue). Between the lanes will be a landscaped median that will beautify the thoroughfare from Rose Avenue east to Brundage Avenue and from Ventura Avenue west to Virginia Avenue. But more importantly to residents, that median will include 27 new Marbelite-style street light poles and seven street lights to existing power poles. This will double the number of street lights along the roadway and help prevent pedestrian accidents along the roadway. In recent years, people trying to cross the street after dark has resulted in one death and two more people being seriously injured.

A woman was killed walking on the sidewalk along Visalia Road on Dec. 11, 2016. A woman who was headed to church attempted to cross the road outside of a crosswalk. When a driver swerved to avoid the woman, the car spun out of control and hit and killed a pedestrian on the sidewalk before striking a power pole.

Jansons said the city would like to complete the eastern portion of Visalia Road by August before turning its attention to the western portion.

“There are a lot of driveway openings on Visalia Road so it will be difficult to maintain all of those access points during the roadwork,” Jansons said.

The project also includes curb gutter and sidewalks along the southern edge of Visalia Road between Rose and Brundage and the northern edge of the road between Ventura and Virginia avenues. Fire hydrants as well as water and sewer links will be added along both of those sections as well to be ready for future growth along the city’s main commuter corridor.

The $5.6 million project will be completely funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase used for transportation projects countywide, as part of a regional project to widen Avenue 280, better known as Caldwell and Visalia Road depending on which city you live in, from Highway 99 to the city of Exeter. In 2003, the Tulare County Association of Governments proposed widening the road to create a six-lane east-west expressway crossing the county. The project is slated for completion by 2031.

Currently the City of Exeter is struggling to gather the requisite amount of land to complete their portion of the widening project.

 

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