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Groundbreaking celebrated for Highway 140/33 roundabout project
Gustine city representatives and government officials turned over the first shovel of dirt for the Highway 140/33 roundabout project. - photo by Sabra Stafford

Gustine’s long-awaited roundabout at Highways 140 and 33 moved into a new phase on Tuesday with the official groundbreaking, which was marked by local and regional dignitaries and officials.

“This project has been long in the making, but I’m sure it will prove to be worth the wait,” said Mayor Pat Nagy. “I think this will be a great addition to our City.”

The City of Gustine State Route 140 Pedestrian – Bicycle – Motorized Transportation Enhancement Plan consists of constructing a single lane roundabout on State Route 140/33 at the intersection of Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue on SR-33/140. Changes to the intersection also include the realignment of Railroad Avenue, the rehabilitation of underground city utilities within the project limits, and the construction of a woonerf between Ash Ave. and Railroad Ave. A woonerf is a Dutch term for a common space created to be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and low speed motor vehicles.

“This significant project will allow traffic to flow through 4th Street and 6th Avenue in downtown Gustine, improving intersection operations that will help reduce congestion, improve air quality, and enhance safety at this location.” said Caltrans District 10 Interim Director Grace Magsayo. “The State Route 140 roundabout will not only welcome motorists to the city of Gustine, but it will also serve as a vital route for commuters, and the movement of commercial and agricultural products through the region. We would like to thank motorists and the community in advance for their patience during construction and remind everyone to please drive safely.”

The project has been in the works for more than a decade and is a collaboration between the City of Gustine, the California Department of Transportation, Merced County Association of Governments and other agencies.

The roundabout is funded by a combination of $2.4 million in federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds, $810,000 in Westside Regional Measure V funds, and $800,000 in a combination of local Measure V, City Water, and City Sewer funds. Measure V is a half-cent sales tax collected in Merced County used solely for the purposes of enhancing local transportation infrastructure. The City of Gustine, along with other local jurisdictions, receives funding for ‘local’ transportation projects but is also eligible for Measure V funding for larger ‘regional’ transportation projects.

“This project is an excellent example of the collaborative funding required to deliver the kind of transformative infrastructure we need in our modern transportation systems,” said Stacie Guzman, MCAG Executive Director. “This is exactly what Measure V promised to the voters, and we are happy to see it being delivered to the residents of Gustine.” 

There was plenty of excitement about the groundbreaking but there was also some trepidation about the project from some of the area business owners.

“I’m feeling a little nervous,” said Andrew Quintal, who, with his wife, owns Wolfsen’s Meat and Sausage. “I don’t know what to expect. Everyone can promise the moon but I have just got to see how everything falls out and happens.”

Quintal said he is particularly concerned about how the construction will impact his foot traffic and customer access.

“I just want to make it as easy as possible for my customers to access,” Quintal said.

The project was awarded by Gustine City Council to contractor Agee Construction Corporation out of Clovis. Construction is anticipated to start around the end of April and if all goes well, possibly be completed by the end of fall 2024.