Plan in motion to widen Demaree and Goshen this year
City Council approves deal with railroad to widen the intersection, purchases property to provide more space
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – The City of Visalia completed a slew of road projects and intersection improvements last year, but one intersection is always on the mind of city staff, councilmember and residents.
The intersection of Demaree Street and Goshen Avenue has long been a problem of bottlenecked traffic, narrow intersections and . It was one of the few intersections that was brought up as a concern during the City Council’s annual planning meeting earlier this month.
“Most cities our size have a lot more traffic circulation problems but Visalia does a pretty good job,” Mayor Warren Gubler said after the annual meeting. “But if you are caught in traffic at Demaree and Goshen it’s not much fun and you could be there for a long time.”
It looks like the city will be able to move forward on widening the intersection after two decisions at its Feb. 20 meeting. In open session at the meeting, the City Council approved a three-party agreement with the San Joaquin Valley Railroad Company (SJVRR), a Genesee & Wyoming Company which operates trains on the tracks through the intersection, and the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRR), which owns the property underneath the tracks and leases use of the tracks to SJVRR.
The $1 million project will:
- Lengthen both left turn lanes, add a right turn lane and create two through lanes on eastbound Goshen
- Lengthen one left turn lane, add a second turn lane and a right turn lane, as well as create two through lanes on westbound Goshen
- Lengthen the left turn lane, add a center left turn lane from Goshen to Mill Creek Parkway, add a right turn lane and create two through lanes on northbound Demaree
- Lengthen the left turn lane, add a right turn lane and create two through lanes on southbound Demaree.
Under the agreement, the City will pay just under $1 million to SJVRR to modify the at-grade crossing and railroad flagging. The city will also pay Southern California Edison $108,000 to relocate a transformer, run new conduit to the customers, and provide the stub for a new traffic signal at the southeast corner of the intersection and relocating three street lights and adjust a large underground vault on the west side of Demaree Street. These expenses will be funded by grants, transportation impact fees, and Measure R funds, the half-cent sales tax used for transportation projects approved by county voters in 2006.
After closed session, city staff reported that the city had purchased property on the southwest corner of the intersection for $66,200 needed for the widening. The purchase of the property closed on Dec. 30, 2017.
The project is scheduled to go out to bid in two weeks with an estimated date of completion by the end of this year.