Task force discusses traffic concerns for MLK overpass

CNJ staff

A task force met Thursday evening to discuss strategies for a proposed railroad overpass at Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Central in Thursday’s discussion was whether the overpass should be restricted to residential and emergency traffic and whether the bridge should be two or four lanes.

“The issue of maintaining the road is very important to the city,” said Angelina Baca-Rodriguez, who was chosen to chair the committee comprising city, state and county officials as well as area residents. “If you allow big trucks to go (over the pass), that would increase the cost of maintenance.”

Baca-Rodriguez, one of the hundreds of residents affected by the closing of the Wheaton Street railroad crossing in 2003, said future development near MLK Boulevard may require the larger bridge.

Frustrated residents in south Clovis took their concerns about being cut off from the city by the railroad expansion to State Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, in February.

Campos brokered a deal in which officials agreed Curry County should proceed with plans to build an overpass on state Highway 467 west of the city because a change could potentially threaten the funding already in place. They also agreed a second overpass should be built at MLK.

Funding for the MLK project will come from Community Development Block Grants, the railroad and other federal and state funds, county manger Dick Smith said.

Campos proposed and the governor recently approved $100,000 in capital outlay funds for engineering and preliminary studies of the project.

“Before we get anywhere, we need to get an engineering estimate,” Baca-Rodriguez said.

Executive Director of Clovis Industrial Development Corp. Chase Gentry agreed to become vice chair of the task force.
The next meeting is slated for 5:15 p.m. May 12 at the Wells Fargo Bank.