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Davis touts work on Highway 98

January 23, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Gov. Gray Davis touted the upcoming installation of traffic lights at the corner of Highway 98 and Meadows Road and a widening of Highway 98 from Encinas Avenue to Meadows.

"This project will not only relieve congestion in this expanding residential area, it will also improve pedestrian safety for students walking to nearby Calexico High School," Davis said Tuesday.

Of the project's $1.5 million cost, $1.1 million is funded with traffic congestion relief funds. The rest of the total is being covered by city funds.

In 2000, Davis signed legislation creating the six-year transportation infrastructure funding program. The legislation was grafted from two separate state Senate bills and an Assembly bill.

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The program combines million of dollars from the state's general fund with money from the gasoline tax and puts it into a huge account that is divvied up each budget year.

For more than two years, city Public Works Director Mariano Martinez and the City Council worked to scrape together funding to install traffic lights at the busy Meadows Road/Highway 98 intersection.

According to state statistics, more than 12,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day.

Initially the city tried to use federal funds. That effort was thwarted by red tape.

After intervention by Assemblyman David Kelley, R-Idyllwild, and a number of meetings with the California Department of Transportation in August, the city tapped into traffic congestion relief funds.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of January with completion in July.

It will precede a larger project in the area that will widen Highway 98 between highways 111 and 7.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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