Chestnut Ave & Central Ave Intersection Improvements

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This is the first year the Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) has been offered for grant opportunities.  The CRP provides federal funding to projects that decrease transportation emissions, which are defined as the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that result from on-road, highway sources.  Although the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allows for a variety of projects to be funded through CRP, Caltrans’ Carbon Reduction Strategy directs Local and State CRP funds to be invested in projects that support bicycle and pedestrian, rail and transit, zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure, and conversions of existing lanes to priced managed lanes.

The County submitted an application for the CRP on September 15, 2023 Chestnut Avenue and Central Avenue Intersection Improvements  The intersection of Central Avenue and Chestnut Avenue is a heavily congested , intersection in a mostly industrially zoned, urban area of Fresno County. It is located between two major roads: State Route 99 to the west, and Golden State Boulevard to the east, which is the historic, former US 99. The intersection is near the unincorporated community of Malaga, an underserved area where 92% of residents are Hispanic and 80% live below the poverty line. The location is within Census Tract 15, considered an Area of Persistent Poverty.

The Census Tract for the project location scored in the 99th percentile on CalEnviroScreen 4.0, which means that the pollution in this tract is higher than 99% of other Census tracts in the state. The left-turn phasing on east-bound and west-bound Central Avenue is not protected and has a large average percentage of trucks and buses. The left-turn delay typically allows for only one truck, bus, or 2-3 cars per cycle. The traffic on both SR 99 from the south and Golden State Boulevard to the east, as well as the railroad that runs parallel, add to the traffic congestion.

Should the project be selected, it includes full replacement of the existing traffic signal to incorporate installation of left-turn phasing on all 4 legs of the intersection. Furthermore, the project will include high visibility backplates and accessible pedestrian signal (APS) push buttons. Right turn lanes will be added on the west, south and east legs of the intersection. ADA curb ramps with curb & gutter will be constructed on all four corners.

The expected benefits of the project are to reduce carbon emissions by installing protected left-turn phasing at the intersection. This measure will prevent left-turning vehicles in the existing unprotected left-turn lane from having to wait for a gap in oncoming traffic, which can lead to congestion and increased emissions.  

The anticipated project cost is $1,300,000.  The County will know if the project was selected by the end of January 2024.