Stanislaus County roads receive funds

California transportation officials Thursday skipped the Northern San Joaquin Valley in the latest round of stimulus grants but found other funding pots to boost some local projects.

Winners include Salida's Kiernan Avenue interchange with Highway 99 and Merced County, which will get camera, weather and changeable message stations along stretches of Highways 99, 59 and 152.

Riverbank and Turlock were awarded money to replace weeds with landscaping along major roads, including some near shopping areas.

California transportation commissioners allocated $1 billion Thursday to 95 projects throughout the state, including $15 million in federal stimulus money. Most of the stimulus awards went to Los Angeles, the Bay Area and to replacing a bridge on Interstate 5 near Lake Shasta.

"This is economic power in action. We're putting people back to work and building better roads, bridges and transit for California," said California Department of Transportation Director Will Kempton.

The majority of Thursday's awards — $490 million — comes from state bonds approved by California voters in 2006. They're paying Stanislaus County $1.5 million, of which $1.4 million is meant to help traffic flow more smoothly at the Kiernan interchange.

State officials gave Merced County $2.9 million to install 96 multipurpose traffic stations along its highways. In addition to flashing messages for motorists, the stations gather speed and traffic data "to be used for corridor management and planning purposes," according to a Caltrans release.

The Merced Council of Governments received a $640,000 planning grant. And the county will get $225,000 to revise a land use plan for the former Castle Airport, bringing Thursday's haul for Merced County to $3.76 million.

In San Joaquin County, Tracy was awarded $650,000 for road improvements.

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Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at or 578-2390.