Road planners have announced a Sept. 15 opening for the new Highway 132 alignment west from Modesto.
The project will shift three miles of the state highway from Maze Boulevard to just south of Kansas Avenue. Work began in late 2019 under a $92 million contract with Bay Cities Paving & Grading of Concord.
The part of Maze close to Modesto has just two lanes and numerous access points for homes, businesses, schools and other land uses. It will become a local street after the new 132 opens.
The idea dates to the 1950s, but the project was delayed by funding gaps and the need to clean up chemical waste from the old FMC Corp. plant.
Drivers next month will find a two-lane expressway from Dakota Avenue to Highway 99. A second phase would widen this stretch to four lanes. A third phase would add four lanes on the five miles west to Gates Road. The funding for both is still coming together.
The opening date was announced at the Wednesday night meeting of the Stanislaus Council of Governments. StanCOG oversees transportation funding for the county and its nine cities.
The opening will include a 9 a.m. ceremony at a location yet to be determined, Modesto spokesman Andrew Gonzales said by email Thursday. Details also await on exactly when and how the public can starting driving the new 132.
The new and old alignments will connect via a half-mile stretch of Dakota. The expressway will have bridges at Rosemore Avenue, Carpenter Road, Emerald Avenue and Highway 99. Its east end is at the Needham Street overpass, completed in 2004 in anticipation of the new 132.
The Carpenter and Rosemore bridges over the expressway are already open, as is the Emerald underpass. The bridge over 99 is still under construction.
A combination of local, state and federal funds went into the 132 project, including the Measure L sales tax approved by county voters in 2016. StanCOG considers it a priority for truckers, commuters and other drivers.