Woodlake is getting a traffic roundabout at Naranjo and Valencia boulevards, the busiest intersection in the city of 7,700 people.
The two thoroughfares are also known as state Highways 216 and 245.
Roundabouts are finally becoming accepted by traffic planners, said Woodlake city planner Greg Collins.
“A roundabout is a much safer intersection,” he said. “It’s all about continuous traffic flow. You don’t have the T-bone type of accident.”
Never miss a local story.
They’re also good for air quality because cars don’t sit at idle.
But the biggest impact to the community will be downtown beautification, said Woodlake Mayor Rudy Mendoza. The project includes curbs, gutters and new sidewalks for one block in each direction.
“Just the improvement to downtown in phenomenal,” he said.
Tulare County Measure R road tax funds and congestion mitigation and air quality money from the state are funding the $2.9 million project, he said.
A groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. April 3.
Collins has had a hand directly or indirectly in three traffic circle or roundabout projects. (Cars stop at traffic circles but not roundabouts.)
Exeter, where he also serves as city planner, installed traffic circles seven years ago; Visalia, where he is a council member, put in a roundabout 10 years ago; and now Woodlake.
Meanwhile, Farmersville is in the process of getting two roundabouts: at Farmersville Boulevard and Noble Avenue, and at the end of the Highway 198 offramp at Noble Avenue.
HANFORD PROJECTS: Several high-profile commercial construction projects in Hanford are catering to the growing area.
A Hobby Lobby is under construction in the former Walmart building at the northwest corner of 12th Avenue and Lacey Boulevard in west Hanford.
The 59,227-square-foot project is valued at just over $1 million. It is expected to open this year, community development director Darlene Mata said.
Meanwhile, two popular restaurants are staking out claims near each other.
Habit Burger and Chipotle are both planning to build at the southwest corner of 12th and Lacey.
“We have people who are excited,” Mata said.
Each project has been through the city’s review process, but building permits have yet to be obtained so it’s unclear when they’ll open for business.
Meanwhile at the same corner, a Les Schwab tire store project has asked for a building permit.
With all the news projects, “We’ll see the completion of the full widening of 12th and Lacey,” Mata said.
Near 11th Avenue and Lacey Boulevard, Starbucks is preparing to move from its current location into a former Long John Silver’s, down the street at the northeast corner of 11th and Lacey.
The move means the coffee place will have a drive-thru window.
In downtown, the site of the Vendome building that burned down in 2012 has a new two-story building with retail space on the ground floor and eight one- and two-bedroom apartment units upstairs.
And Costco has submitted an application for a building permit at Highway 43 and Lacey Boulevard in east Hanford.