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Bypass Opening Another Step Closer

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Tuolumne County Supervisors today approved an agreement with the state… to take over control of the section of Mono Way bypassed by the as-yet unopened East Sonora Expressway.

Caltrans Project Manager Kevin Sheridan warned the board today that if they didn´t approve the agreement the decision would go to the County Transportation Commission and then it could take until January of next year until drivers could get onto the $70 million bypass.

The motion carried 3 – to – 2, with Supervisors Mark Thornton and Jim Peterson voting against the agreement.

Supervisor Peterson also voted against the agreement, saying he was troubled by the sudden addition of the item to the agenda and the fact the board received copies of the agreement as late as this morning.

In a debate before the vote, Supervisor Mark Thornton asked Sheridan from Caltrans what would happen if they didn´t approve the agreement.

Sheridan said the decision would go to the county´s transportation commission. By the time it made its way through all the required processes, the opening the bypass could be delayed until January 2005.

Now, Caltrans has about six hours worth of work painting the final stripes on the bypass and the activation of the traffic signals to deal with be for cars will travel on the three-mile stretch of highway.

Project Manager Kevin Sheridan said at the latest, the roadway could be open by next week.