Thornton Road widening project likely to cause long traffic delays

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Jerice Banola, Staff Writer

For years, Thornton Road has been a headache for many drivers commuting through the area – especially through the region between Creekside Elementary and Quikstop.

As far back as 1990, the city of Stockton developed the idea of expanding Thornton Road between Bear Creek and Pershing Avenue. However, the recession in 2008 and Stockton’s filing for bankruptcy in 2012 postponed the project.

Finally in October 2016, construction began on Thornton Road to increase the two-lane road to four lanes. The construction is already creating congestion in its early stages, as the road is a central route for many living in the area.

“[Thornton Road] is basically my main road since it’s right next to my house and all the places I go on a daily basis,” senior Shawndra Ramjattan said.

With Thornton Road being a gateway to many popular hubs, like the taco truck El Duende, drivers will be forced to be patient with the traffic they will inevitably face or plan ahead to avoid the groans and road rage.

“Leaving early and never departing last minute will serve as the basis of my plan to avoid traffic,” senior Robert Whitfield said.

For many drivers, their mindset is to endure traffic jams in the beginning so they can enjoy the end result.

“Being patient with traffic and understanding the end goal will keep me sane during the construction,” senior Kirsten Weber said.

However, drivers will have to a long wait to reap the benefits of the four-lane road.

“The project has an estimated end date at around spring of 2018 as we’ll be delayed with the weather during the winter time,” Stockton’s engineering service manager Wes Johnson said.

Stockton also plans to add the county’s first “buffered” bike lanes, in order to encourage alternate forms of transportation.

“The bike lanes will have approximately 3 feet of space between the road and the actual bike lane,” Johnson said.

In addition, stoplights will be added at Stanfield and Otto drives, which should serve as welcomed change for many living in that area, as it can be impossible to enter Thornton Road during rush hour.

However, for many students, the issue of lunch comes to mind.

“Construction on Thornton Road will hinder me from getting my favorite burritos at the El Duende taco truck during my off-campus time,” senior Justin Ho said.

Regardless, the Thornton Road Widening Project funded by Measure K should address the terrible traffic. This expansion may lead to a few struggles in the beginning, however it is sure to make life easier in the end.