Monday, March 21, 2005

Only two pieces are needed for a major, new Fairfield east-west roadway to be born

Article Last Updated: Sunday, Mar 20, 2005 - 11:52:16 pm PST

Cars travel along the new stretch of Manuel Campos Parkway between Claybank Road and Cement Hill Road. (Phot by Mike McCoy)

Manuel Campos Parkway will link 1-80, Peabody
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Only two pieces are needed for a major, new Fairfield east-west roadway to be born. Manuel Campos Parkway will run from Interstate 80 to Peabody Road. It will be a more modest, slower-paced version of Air Base Parkway, one that hugs the foothills.Developers and the city for a decade have put in pieces here and there. Part of existing Cement Hill Road serves as a piece. Two pieces of about .4 miles each need to be built to create a continuous, 3.6-mile-long parkway.The two missing Manuel Campos pieces are:n Between I-80 and Dover Avenue. The connection includes renovating the freeway interchange. Fairfield could begin the $18 million project in 2007.

In between Mystic Drive and Dickson Hill Road. The $6.4 million project is waiting for Bureau of Reclamation approval to cross the Putah South Canal that carries drinking water.Once these segments are in place, people will be able to drive Manuel Campos Parkway from the freeway through the Paradise Valley area to Peabody Road and Fairfield's eastern growth boomtown, an area targeted for hundreds of homes. They could then continue to Vacaville on existing roads.The city's junior version of Air Base Parkway will be ready.

Resident Richard Barker is with the homeowners association for Paradise Cove, a subdivision near the parkway. He looks forward to the final Manuel Campos links being made. "I hope it reduces traffic on Dickson Hill Road and ultimately that it will give us easier and quicker access to the freeway," Barker said.

However, one family living near Manuel Campos Parkway sold their home and moved on. They thought a tranquil area will become noisier with the extra traffic, Barker said.Planning Commissioner Stan Silverman lives near the parkway. He's concerned opening up Manuel Campos will add more traffic to Clay Bank Road.But the parkway could also give people in the new sections of Paradise Valley a way to get to I-80 without getting on local streets, he said."It's a mixed bag," Silverman said.

What is beginning life as a two-lane road in some places will ultimately have plenty of room. Manuel Campos Parkway could someday have six lanes from I-80 to Clay Bank Road and four lanes from Clay Bank Road to Peabody Road.But it won't be a freeway. There will be traffic lights and intersections, probably more intersections than along Air Base Parkway.Coordinated signals should help make traffic flow efficiently, City Engineer Gene Cortright said.The most dramatic project associated with Manuel Campos Parkway is the renovated interchange at I-80 and North Texas Street.This includes building a section of Manuel Campos Parkway between the freeway and Dover Avenue/Paradise Valley Road. A developer graded the route years ago, but today it sits covered by grass and bushes. Fairfield will punch Manuel Campos Parkway through the graded swathe to the freeway.

It will shift part of North Texas Street to the east to make room for the renovated interchange. Entrances to some business parking lots will shift also, from what is now their fronts to their rears.The state must approve the design plans, because the interchange serves the freeway.

Fairfield has long realized the need for Manuel Campos Parkway. The road shows up in the 1992 General Plan under a different name." A significant new roadway is a new east-west expressway," the 1992 plan says.Fairfield originally proposed a bigger version of Manuel Campos Parkway, one that would be six lanes its entire length. That was back when the city planned to allow thousands of homes east of Peabody Road, an idea it has since dropped.Manuel Campos Parkway will have more intersections than originally envisioned, to meet the needs of housing developments adjacent to it. But it should still serve as the major road planners envisioned a decade ago.Fairfield originally had other names for the road, such as the Foothill Expressway.

The city renamed the road after Manuel Campos in 1997. Campos served on the Fairfield City Council for 20 years during four different decades, including mayor in the 1970s, ran the Food Fair market and lived in the downtown Goosen Mansion. He died in 1995.A photograph taken after his first council victory in 1958 shows a man with short hair wearing a bow tie and thick-framed glasses. His mouth is curved in a half-smile. He had a reputation for being gruff but caring.His name will be remembered for decades to come by Fairfield motorists.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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