Stimulus to smooth roads in valley, foothill counties

Stanislaus County's bumpiest roads soon will become a little smoother thanks to more than $26 million in federal stimulus money.

The California Department of Transportation released a list of projects Wednesday that will benefit from the $2.5 billion the state received, the most in the country.

The majority of money coming to Stanislaus County and the cities of Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Oakdale, Riverbank, Patterson, Newman and Waterford is for street resurfacing. The two projects that don't involve pavement were $1.3 million to the county to upgrade traffic signals and $681,000 for Caltrans to landscape Highway 99 between Kansas Avenue in central Modesto and the Stanislaus River north of Salida.

Merced County was awarded $42.4 million, of which almost $30 million is to replace a bridge over Black Rascal Creek west of downtown Merced. The rest of the county's money mostly will go to resurfacing streets.

San Joaquin County received $46 million, including more than $5 million for Ripon to repave streets and improve a roundabout. About $1.2 million was designated to improve West Ripon Road between Airport Way and Austin Road, and $1.4 million was set aside for landscaping at Highways 99 and 120 in Manteca.

Tuolumne County received $3.6 million, mostly for pavement resurfacing.

There are more than 900 identified transportation projects across California. An additional $456 million in federal stimulus funding will be awarded in April.