A long-awaited project to connect Highway 41 with Indian Springs Road, to help alleviate overloaded traffic near several Oakhurst schools such as Yosemite High, could begin construction by the end of next year.
Named the Oakhurst Mid-Town Connector Project, environmental studies are underway on the 0.4-mile stretch of roadway, which will add a bridge across Nelder Creek/Fresno River, and traffic signals both on the highway at Teddy Bear Lane and to a T-Intersection at Indian Springs Road next to Fresno Flats.
“In general, we’re always kind of trying to look and come up with ideas to help improve circulation in that area of Oakhurst,” Deputy Public Works Director Jared Carter said. “This is something that’s been kind of kicked around for a while.”
Carter said the project’s initial cost including estimates, design, right of way studies and all else was $7.4 million, covered through the 2006 voter-approved Measure T, which increased sales taxes by a half cent.
“With the passage of Measure T and the opportunity to use that funding, it really gave this process a little more legs in terms of being able to move forward,” Carter said.
Carter and county engineer Mohammed Alqutami said should environmental studies ideally complete late next year, the county could then send out bids for construction, with the goal of beginning shortly before the end of 2016 or into early 2017.
“They want to determine that everything is cleared both for environmental and cultural concerns before beginning work,” Alqutami said. “They’re checking for any historical artifacts.”
That work was approved in November by the Board of Supervisors.
Tom Wheeler, District 5 Supervisor, said once completed the new connection will improve traffic for both residents and emergency vehicles.
“I think this is really important so there will be another route to get out of by the high school, as well as any emergencies or other things going on in that area,” Wheeler said. “It’s a great thing to have these roads improved for everyone to use.”