A portion of a road project decades in the making is scheduled to open next year, alleviating traffic bottlenecks linking Fresno west of Highway 99 to destinations east.
“It’s a real shortcut because we don’t really have an East-West freeway. … So being able to make a nice loop around the city, Veterans Boulevard is that final piece of the puzzle.” — Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi
Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi toured a section of Veterans Boulevard on a rainy Tuesday morning. Once completed, the road will help connect east and west Fresno.
“People have been calling up my office wondering, when is this going to be built? They’re excited to see the construction, but they really don’t have any idea visually what it’s going to be like,” Karbassi said. “This is really the final stretch of getting this complete.”
Veterans Boulevard has been on the books since the 1984 general plan.
“It’s a real shortcut because we don’t really have an East-West freeway,” Karbassi said. “This is that little gap that’s going to be filled with this piece of infrastructure. So being able to make a nice loop around the city, Veterans Boulevard is that final piece of the puzzle.”
Main Section Scheduled for 2022 Opening
Karbassi says Veterans Boulevard will open in mid-2022. The Highway 99 interchange should open by the end of 2023.
That will be ahead of schedule, said city public works director Scott Mozier.
Once completed, the approximately three-mile stretch of the diagonal-oriented road will link Herndon and Shaw avenues. An extension will take it to Grantland and Gettysburg on the west side.
$140 Million Project
The goal is to reduce traditional backups at Herndon and Highway 99 and Shaw and the railroad tracks east of Highway 99.
The $140 million project is being paid for by a combination of federal and state funds, as well as fees from local developers. The High-Speed Rail Authority is also building sections of the project.
Karbassi expects new commercial ventures along Veterans Boulevard.
“This is an investment … in enticing more folks to be able to live west of Highway 99,” Karbassi said.