by David Taub

Highway 180 is slated for an upgrade. The road linking the west side of Fresno County to the east side will become easier to drive thanks to new funding.

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved $34 million to help expand Hwy 180 in the Minkler and Centerville areas.  With the funding, Hwy 180 will be expanded from two to four lanes in the 3.5 mile stretch from a half mile west of Smith Avenue to 0.6 miles east of Frankwood Avenue.

The CTC made the decision at its meeting Thursday in San Jose.  It reinstated funding form the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) that Valley transportation officials thought were cut and gone for good.

The total funding for the project is $102M, expected to start in January. The breakdown of funding sources:

Measure C                                                               $14.83 mil

STIP (State Funds)                                                  $47.42 mil

SHOPP (State Maintenance Program)                $1.60 mil

Regional Transportation Mitigation Fees         $38.28 mil

Total                                                                         $102.13 mil.

This is the latest in Highway 180 expansion over the past 11 years. In 2005, the freeway opened to six lanes from Chestnut to Clovis. In 2009, it extended out to Temperance; Academy in 2011 and to Smith in 2014.

At its full capacity, the CTS has 11 members. Currently, there are only 10 members, none of which are from Fresno, Madera, Kings or Tulare counties. The governor appoints nine of the eleven voting members, with one chosen by the state Senate Rules Committee and one appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.

See map of Highway 180 projects

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