Merced County reached a tremendous milestone in 2022 as local officials cut the ribbon and opened Segment III of the Campus
Parkway project, which now extends the expressway from Highway 99 to the UC Merced community, tying in with Highway 140, Olive Avenue, and Yosemite Avenue along the way. Staff is currently exploring options to continue the expressway, which will eventually connect with Bellevue Road.
In addition to Campus Parkway, staff is also in the process of completing preliminary work for Phase 1B of the Atwater-Merced Expressway (AME) project, which will extend the expressway from its current interchange along Highway 99 and over to Castle, opening the door for continued economic development at the site.
Continued development of the AME is critical to the future viability of Castle. Funding has been identified to extend the AME to Castle, and staff is in the process of identifying funding for a future phase of the project that will extend it northeast to Franklin Road.
Campus Parkway and the Atwater-Merced Expressway represent two major components of the “Merced Loop System,” which will circle the City of Merced and connect surrounding communities, including the City of Atwater once completed. The project will greatly reduce traffic congestion, improve regional connectivity, increase economic development opportunities, and allow for easier access to UC Merced.
Significant strides are being made in addressing the condition of our existing County road system as well. In 2021, the Merced County Department of Public Works utilized Measure V and Senate Bill (SB) 1 funding to resurface nearly 19 miles of County roads, with a total construction cost of $5.8 million. It is worth noting that it can cost more than $300,000 to repave one mile of roadway. In addition to Measure V and SB 1, the Board of Supervisors recently set aside $10 million in ARPA funding specifically for local road projects, and the Department of Public Works is developing a recommend
Board consideration on how to best invest that funding.