Construction on Akers St. and Highway 198 on-ramps between Cypress and Hillsdale avenues will last until September
By Reggie Ellis
VISALIA – Akers Street will have to be temporarily narrowed in order for it to be permanently widened.
The project to improve the Highway 198 interchange at Akers Street by adding another left turn lane of traffic in both directions will include partial lane closures, entire lane closures and the nightly closures of an on-ramp between now and September, according to city officials who spoke at a community meeting on Jan. 13.
The project aims to reduce traffic congestion at the intersection and includes:
- Double left turn pockets on Akers for 198 on-ramps
- Two receiving lanes for Eastbound 198 on-ramp
- Additional dedicated lane on Akers leading into dual left turn pockets
- Bike lanes added
Construction on Akers and the on-ramps will take approximately eight months and extends from approximately 150 feet north of Cypress to the north side of Hillsdale. Access will be provided to adjacent properties.
Tree removal and utility work should begin before the end of the month with right lane restrictions on northbound Akers. The two left lanes of Akers between Noble and Mineral King avenues are expected to begin next week and continue through mid February. Stage two of the improvements will close the eastbound on-ramp for about three weeks from mid-February through mid-March. Also during that time, Akers will be narrowed to one-lane in each direction for two weekends between Noble and Mineral King. Stage three of the project will close the right lanes of northbound traffic from mid-March through mid-May. Eastbound Noble Avenue just east of Akers will be closed at night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for three weeks through mid-May. The eastbound on-ramp to Highway 198 will also be closed at night for the three weeks. All traffic will be rerouted to the Demaree interchange.
From May to June, the right lanes of southbound Akers near the interchange will be closed during stage four. The left lanes of Akers in both directions will be closed from mid-June to mid-July in stage five of construction. Beginning in July, there will be nightly closures (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) for two or three weeks on northbound Akers from Cypress to Hillsdale. In August, the southbound lanes will be closed.
For those that want to stay in the know, information will also be available via real-time updates on closures and delays by signing up for mobile alerts. Text “akers198” to 81257 to receive updates.
A public meeting was held on Thursday, Jan. 9. To see the PowerPoint presentation from that meeting, click here. To watch a video of the meeting, visit the City of Visalia Facebook page here.
Project updates will be posted here once available, but we’ll also be sharing updates on city social media channels. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CityofVisalia. For 24-hour contact during the construction, call 800-711-3145.