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Cole Road rerouting plan ready for council

April 22, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Shocks and struts retailers might not be happy about it, but Calexico motorists will be.

The stretch of Cole Road from Highway 98 to Highway 111, potholed and gouged by the 18 wheels of truckers who use the route as a shortcut to Interstate 8, could be closed to truck traffic soon.

The shortcut will be closed and truck traffic rerouted if the Calexico City Council approves a resolution penned by the city's public works department.

After months of pouring over various alternatives, Mariano Martinez, city public works director, will present a plan to the City Council at its next meeting to reroute truck traffic from Highway 98 north on Bowker Road, sending it east on Jasper Road instead of Cole Road.

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Truckers who want to travel on Highway 98 all the way to Interstate 8 will have to use Dogwood Road from Jasper.

This proposal will move truck traffic away from schools planned for the Cole Road area and keep trucks off Highway 98, which passes Calexico High School and residential areas.

Residents of new housing developments south of Cole Road off Meadows Road have complained for months of potholes and fissures in the blacktop caused by the truckers.

In addition to the damage inflicted by the 18-wheelers, traffic congestion clogs the two-lane road during peak hours.

Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared the stretch of road a hazardous area and recommended the city take action.

During City Council meetings councilmen John Renison and Gilbert Grijalva have both mentioned the stretch of road and vowed to fix the problem.

Martinez said it will take years to completely retrofit the sections of Bowker, Jasper and Dogwood for truck traffic.

However, his resolution would take effect "before the end of the year" because most construction can take place on the three roads making up the new route without impacting the truck traffic.

The complete retrofitting will take roughly the same time it will take to build proposed Highway 7.

When both projects are complete, Martinez said, truckers using the Calexico East Port of Entry will use Highway 98 if they are traveling east and Highway 7 to Interstate 8 if they are traveling north or west.

Cole Road, which will be widened and repaved later this year, will be used primarily by tourists using the east Calexico Point of Entry and those traveling to the shopping centers near Highway 111.

Martinez expects there to be concerns about the proposed closure by trucking companies who use the truck stop near the Cole Road and Highway 111 intersection.

He also expects farmers along Jasper Road to complain of difficulty moving equipment to their fields because of the increase in traffic.

All those concerns are outweighed by the positives of the proposal, according to a study conducted by the city public works department.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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