AVENUE 9 IMPROVEMENTS: Most, if not all of the improvements on Avenue 9 east of the Union Pacific tracks to around Road 36 have been completed, and the difference the new paving makes is phenomenal. Madera County Road Commissioner Johannes Hoevertsz and his crews have done a great job of turning one of the worst arterials in the county into a road worth traveling.
Avenue 9 is important because it is the quickest route between State Route 99 and State Route 41. It also connects SR 99 with Children’s Hospital Central California, and a trip to that regional medical center will be made faster and more comfortable by the improvements.
If and when planned housing developments are built in that area, Avenue 9 will be critical for providing connections for those residents, and probably will have to be widened.
For now, though, that stretch of road has gone from poor quality and dangerous to better quality, more comfortable and safer.
HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Land purchases for the California High-Speed Rail system in Fresno have been raising some eyebrows in that city because property owners are being told to sell and get the heck out. On this side of the river, though, not much is being said about how acquisitions for the right-of-way are being made. That could mean the rail authority isn’t buying property yet, or it could mean the purchases are going smoothly.
The rail authority has said many times it plans to start construction near Avenue 17 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks next month. Will that actually happen?
If so, not much will be done in the way of track-laying at first, so route acquisition — largely of relatively open land — may go at a leisurely pace. In Fresno, however, a lot of buildings and other stuff will have to be scrapped to make room for the tracks and a downtown station. If it doesn’t start in September ... well don’t hold your breath.