Highway closures continue in Ceres

CERES -- As work continues to reconstruct the Whitmore Avenue interchange, state transportation officials plan to close the northbound lanes of Highway 99, between Whitmore and Hatch Road, from late Wednesday night to early Thursday morning.

Freeway traffic will be directed onto city streets in Ceres from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Some Ceres streets and highway onramps will be closed as well, making it difficult to access Ceres during the early morning hours, city officials said.

A contractor is working on an $18 million project that involves replacing the two-lane Whitmore overcrossing with four lanes and redoing the exits and approaches.

Last week, the southbound lanes of Highway 99 were closed twice so workers could install the "falsework" for pouring the concrete for the new overcrossing. This week, they will put the framing over the northbound lanes.

The California Department of Transportation closes the highway to keep construction materials from falling on vehicles; the work is done late at night when traffic is light.

Northbound motorists will be directed off the freeway at the Whitmore exit and then follow a detour route using El Camino Avenue and Herndon Road. The detour will proceed across Hatch Road onto Joyce Street and then onto the northbound freeway onramp opposite Joyce.

The onramp from El Camino near Whitmore to northbound 99 will be closed. Officials will close Hatch Road and Whitmore Avenue across Highway 99 to all but emergency vehicles.

If the work is not completed, the closures will be repeated from 11 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday, Caltrans said.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at or 578-2321.