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Highway 65 realignment plans moving forward
A proposed two lane expressway on State Route 65 from Hermosa to State Route 198 could affect some Lindsay businesses.
“It will definitely kill our business,” said Chevron owner Maneer Saeed, who owns the station on Spruce and Avenue 232 (State Route 137).
Roman Silva, who owns a thrift shop on Avenue 232, had heard of some plans, but was not sure of the effect they would have on his business.
“I gotta see plans, exactly how they’re going to plan it,” said Silva.
A public meeting on the plans is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Exeter.
The expressway, slated for construction in 2019, would be located between Hermosa Avenue in Lindsay and Avenue 300 on State Route 245. It would make Highway 65 an expressway all the way from Porterville to Highway 198 and will follow Spruce Avenue, eliminating Highway 65 that now goes through downtown Exeter.
The new plans would have three alternatives with one being a no-build alternative. The first two alternatives would hook up with State Route 198.
“This project would improve route continuity and interregional traffic flow, provide capacity for future increases in traffic volume and improve safety,” wrote Judy Aguilar the CalTrans project manager in an e-mail to The Recorder.
Lindsay City Planner Bill Zigler explained in a recent Lindsay city council meeting the first alternative would have a horseshoe pattern which would bypass Super 8 and Country Waffle and would limit the number of intersections.
“If they want to go to Super 8 they’d have to get off and go back,” said Zigler.
However, Aguilar added that a frontage road would be available to provide access to this business and others on State Route 65 between Hermosa and Tulare avenues.
The second alternative would be between Spruce and Kaweah.
“The thought there is that it’s cheaper to buy the agricultural land at the backs of property than having to buy a house and moving rehab homes close to it. I think their preferred path is to go along Spruce since most of infrastructure is already there,” explained Zigler.
According to a map of proposed projects, the second route would run between Frontage Road and Road 204 which is Spruce.
“The construction cost for Alternative 1 is $94.5 million and the construction cost for Alternative 2 is $96.8 million. The project would be built in phases as funding becomes available. The funding would come from the Regional Improvement Program,” stated Aguilar in the e-mail and added that schedule for Phase 1 which is from Hermosa Street to Avenue 244 will take place over the next seven years.
Plans are to have the project approved and environmental document completed by next fall, with right of way acquisition in 2017 and then construction in 2019.
The CalTrans meeting on the project will be held 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Exeter Veteran’s Memorial Building.324 N. Kaweah Avenue, Exeter.
At the meeting, the public will have access to the draft environmental impact report and CalTrans representatives will be present to answer any questions.