Exeter council passes notice of completion on Visalia Road project

There were approximately $160,000 in change orders to complete the Visalia Road repaving project last December

EXETER – The Exeter City Council sewed up the final step on the Visalia Road repaving project by unanimously passing a notice of completion on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

The once pothole-riddled stretch of Visalia Road between Jacob Place and Orange Avenue was recently repaved as part of the city’s Visalia Road Project. Construction of the roughly $4.3 million project was deemed complete on Dec. 8. According to Exeter city manager, Adam Ennis, there were approximately $160,000 in change orders needed to complete the project.

The project was funded by Measure R, a half cent sales tax used for the improvement of streets and roads in Tulare County. The project also used $170,000 in money appropriated from the city’s sewer fund, which was used to relocate a lift station that sits under the Visalia Road and Belmont intersection.

“From the comments I’ve heard, folks are pretty pleased with how it turned out,” said Adam Ennis, Exeter city manager. 

Plans to improve Exeter’s stretch of Visalia Rd. have been years in the making. In Sept. 2020, the council awarded a construction contract of $4,109,961 for the project to Fresno construction company Yarbs Grading & Paving. At the same meeting, they authorized the appropriation of $116,700 from Measure R funding and the $170,000 from the sewer fund. They also authorized the execution of an updated Measure R Supplemental Agreement for approximately $6.5 million and negotiated a contract with 4 Creeks of Visalia to manage the project. 

The road was widened in 2019 as a part of the Tulare County Association of Government (TCAG), and member cities’ Road 280 widening project. It also received new medians, landscaping and a monument sign at the city limits. The more recent repaving of Visalia Road was included in the plans for this project. 

Commuters may have noticed that the portion of the road between Elberta Road and Jacob Place has not yet been repaved. When the Road 280 widening project was put in motion, the plan was for the city to repave the road from Elberta on the west side of town to Orange. However, when designs for the plan were finalized, it became clear that the city would not have enough to pave the entire stretch of road. 

“The county right now is planning to repave that section, along with the county section between Farmersville and Exeter,” Ennis said. 

The repavement of this portion of the road will also be funded by Measure R, Ennis said. There currently is no time frame as to when this will be done. 

Ennis said the city is planning additional road improvement projects for Firebaugh Avenue and Rocky Hill Drive. Those are some of the most difficult roads to drive on for everyday commuters as it has been a traditional thoroughfare for heavy semi trucks that wear down the road.

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