For the third time in four months, drivers should be aware that the railroad crossing at Monte Vista Avenue at Golden State Boulevard will be closed for “repairs” again.
The "repairs" are actually a reconstruction, now.
The upcoming reconstruction stem from Union Pacific Railroad replacing railroad tracks and concrete panels at the Monte Vista Avenue railroad crossing back in August.
The railroad construction work was completed, however, a bump was created and left as is.
The now infamous “Monte Vista Bump” came to be due to initial information that detailed the tracks would be raised by 1 inch, but the reality was that the tracks were raised up to 3 inches in certain spots.
After complaints from constituents, the City Council not only brought up the matter but also expedited the process to make sure the transition was fixed as soon as possible.
A few months after the work in August, the “bump” was scheduled to be smoothed out back in November. The work closed the entry into the busiest shopping center at the busiest time of the year, just after the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
The City of Turlock had contracted George Reed Inc, of Modesto, to smooth out the bump at the Monte Vista Avenue railroad crossing that was left behind by the initial project. The road construction work cost $71,530 and will came out of the gas tax reserves.
The “bump” was supposedly smoothed out, and even re-opened Monte Vista Avenue a day earlier than expected.
However, only the eastbound lanes of Monte Vista Avenue were smooth and reported as satisfactory. The westbound lanes still had a bump.
Drivers were soon after notifying the City of Turlock with complaints.
Now, Union Pacific Railroad has identified deficiencies with the substrate beneath the track requiring immediate correction. City of Turlock officials have reviewed the situation with UPR and concur with their assessment and necessity for immediate reconstruction.
Beginning on Monday, Dec. 12, Union Pacific Railroad will be doing a full reconstruction of the railroad crossing which will include replacing the rail bed, rails and supporting infrastructure, as well as all new concrete panels.
UPR will also be responsible for any necessary repaving to match the roadbed with the new crossing panels to provide for a smooth transition.
The inconvenience of a continued bump has brought attention to a larger problem that is now being corrected by redoing the work. The repeated “repairs” may have also saved Turlock money as Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth and Turlock’s Congressman Jeff Denham are working to recover costs while expediting the project, and following through with final confirmation of satisfactory completion.
“We've held Union Pacific Railroad accountable for their less-than-satisfactory work and they will fix the depression in the tracks at no additional cost to Turlock's taxpayers,” stated Mayor Soiseth. “While the additional closure is a large inconvenience, I urge drivers to be patient as Union Pacific makes good on their promise to make the Monte Vista railroad crossing safe once again."
Mayor Soiseth acknowledged Congressman Jeff Denham’s involvement in the issues with UPR and expressed appreciation for helping resolve the situation.
"I want to thank Congressman Jeff Denham for his personal attention to this issue with the crossing,” said Mayor Soiseth. “Within just one day of calling him, he worked around the clock to make sure Union Pacific officials corrected the unsafe crossing and he is working tirelessly to recover all the costs Turlock had to spend in our own effort to fix the crossing."
As holiday shopping is underway and increasing, the City of Turlock has taken extra measures to notify residents and local businesses during the repeated road closure.
According to a press release sent out by the City of Turlock, “The City will dedicate traffic control and assistance resources to the immediate affected area, focused on providing traffic safety and public assistance.”
Traffic heading both eastbound and westbound on Monte Vista Avenue at Golden State Boulevard will be impacted by the closure as Union Pacific Railroad crews perform a full reconstruction at the crossing.
For those heading westbound on Monte Vista toward Golden State, it is advised to head south on Golden State, west on Tuolumne road, and north on Countryside Drive to reach the Monte Vista Crossings shopping area.
The closure will persist for 4 days beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, through Thursday, Dec. 15. Reconstruction is expected to be completed by 5 p.m. on Dec. 15.