The City of Madera is advertising for bids on the planned widening of 4th Street, and for many, it won’t happen soon enough. The latest delay of a few months hasn’t been the city’s fault. Caltrans wanted to get its widening and improvements done on the freeway before giving the okay for widening of the 4th Street bridge over State Route 99, along with improvements of the on- and off-ramps.
Meanwhile, work on the Ellis Street overcrossing proceeds with progress being evident every day. It should be in use in mid-autumn. The over pass will be a welcome addition to the traffic configuration in Madera. It will help tie the northwest and northeast parts of the city together, and also will ease congestion at the intersection from heck — the Cleveland Avenue, Country Club Drive, Gateway Drive and Union Pacific Railroad conglomeration.
The widening and improvement of 4th Street also will help the two sides of the city communicate with better traffic flow.
The widening of the street will inconvenience some people — including the congregants of the biggest church in town, St. Joachim’s Catholic Church. The members of this heavily used church, and its elementary school across the street, will have to figure out a new traffic flow while the work is going on. I don’t envy them. Once the improvements are made, though, all will find getting around 4th Street to be more convenient and also safer.
For us, these are big changes because we are a small town. In a bigger city, they wouldn’t seem like much.
We often hear complaints about Madera County’s country roads and their need for repair. I often wonder why those who built those roads were able to get them done, but we have a hard time keeping them up. A lot of work is being completed on county roads, but more is needed. ‘Twas ever thus.