Diverging diamond at I 580

A new diverging diamond, the second in the state, is planned for the Interstate 580 interchange at International Parkway at the west edge of town as part of a nearly $53 million project to reduce traffic congestion and improvement movement of goods to area highways.

In a news release the city of Tracy announced a $24,884,000 grant was awarded to the city and Caltrans who is partnering with the city on the interchange project.

City engineer Robert Armijo said the grant is through the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program and the nearly $25 million will be used along with funding from transportation impact mitigation fees, city regional transportation impact fees and the San Joaquin Council of Government’s Measure K to construct the new interchange estimated to cost $52.858 million to construct.

“There are a few sites in Tracy where we could really use some interchange improvements and this is one of them. We have the Cordes Ranch Specific Plan otherwise known as the International Park of Commerce and they are doing a lot of development there. We also have the Patterson pass Business Park so there is a lot of commercial and economic activity there so it’s an import place to put public improvements like that,” Armijo said. “ It’s also a route for commuters in the city of Tracy. A lot of folks use old Schulte Road and that interchange to get on the freeway. It’s a great location to invest money for a lot of reasons.”

The International Park of Commerce is 450 acres and 20-million-square-feet of business park for fulfillment center, distribution, flex office and warehouse space and along with the Patterson Pass Business Park is home to businesses including Amazon, Costco, Safeway Medline, Smuckers and FedEx Ground.

Although the plan isn’t in the final design stage, the new interchange is slated to reconstruct the existing interchange and widen off and on ramps along with the freeway overcrossing to increase traffic capacity and truck throughput.

The diverging diamond will allow free movement onto the free way and will include continuous bike lanes and add sidewalks for pedestrians.

Armijo said they looked at many interchange design along with Caltrans to pick the most appropriate design for the site.

“Diverging diamond interchange is really a state of the art design in civil engineering and it’s a very advanced solution and works very well,” Armijo said. “The diverging diamond is really a good solution when you’re trying to minimize the footprint of the interchange — there’s a lot of businesses in the area and some sites we would like to avoid expanding on to — it has a very nice compact design and tends to be pretty economical as well and those are some of the reasons why.”

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in August 2022 and could take up to two years to complete.

Armijo said a lot more work needs to be done in engineering and acquisition of properties before work begins on the interchange. Once construction starts crews would try to keep a couple of lanes open during the construction work.

“Usually there are flag persons who are directing traffic and there could be delays but it’s not typical to shut the entire thing during construction,” Armijo said.

The current plan is also to widen the bridge over the California Aqueduct but that could change.

Armijo wanted to stress drivers be cautious driving through the area once the project begins.

“Once we get into constriction slow it down, slow down for the cone zone. Safety is important not only for the motorists themselves but for the people really trying to do the work and make our standard of living better. When we have our contractors out there working definitely slow down and be safe and respectful,” Armijo said.

There will be public outreach as the project moves along to let people know what is happening as they get closer to the actual construction.

Information and updates about the interchange project can be found at the project website https://205and580interchanges.com/

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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