Time to begin on Highway 190 improvements
While 20 to 40 years is a long way out, when it comes to highway projects, it is really not that much time.
This week, the city council held a meeting to look at potential improvements to Highway 190 through Porterville. While some of those improvements may be decades away, others may come much sooner and it is better to come up with a comprehensive plan that encompasses all of the highway through town, rather than a bunch of individual projects that in the end will provide little continuity to the expressway.
We can look at Highway 190 today how Visalia looked at Highway 198 in the 1950s and 1960s. The plans to turn that busy highway into a freeway through much of Visalia began that long ago, yet the project was not undertaken until the late 1990s. The project was a huge improvement to that community.
We would like to see as much of Highway 190 done at once as possible. Having four our five separate projects would lead to poor planning. Improving the highway from Westwood Street on the west to the planned roundabout at Road 284 on east would be best. At the least, extend the four lanes to Westwood Street. That would include Newcomb Street, which will see significantly more traffic after the county constructs its South County Detention Facility on West Scranton Avenue. That project is just four years away. Traffic on Highway 190 will continue to increase. The further development of the commercial area at Jaye and Highway 190 will add more traffic, and hopefully a better marketing effort by the U.S. Forest Service will increase tourism to the Giant Sequoia National Monument, also putting more traffic on the highway.
We understand that money will be the big issue and all the more reason to begin the planning and lobbying now to make improvements to the highway. Not only should Caltrans and county Measure R folks be included, but we should get Congressman Kevin McCarthy on board as well.
We are glad to see the council with eyes focused down the road.