On November 19, Visalia city officials, engineers from TRC Companies, Inc., and other dignitaries celebrated the grand opening of the improved State Route 198/Plaza Drive Interchange. TRC performed the planning and design for this $26 million project, which will promote economic growth across Tulare County by improving access to employment centers and enhancing the movement of goods.
“TRC is proud to have been part of the Plaza Drive Widening and Interchange Project,” said Mark Imbriani, TRC vice president and project manager. “The wider roadway and enlarged interchange will alleviate traffic congestion and provide better access to Visalia’s Industrial Park, which houses many major product distribution centers serving the Western U.S. With better traffic flow, fuel consumption will be reduced and air quality in the area will improve. Travel time for motorists will also be reduced, and safety will be enhanced.”
This major public works project, started by the city of Visalia in 2008, widened Plaza Drive from two to four or six lanes over a distance of 1.5 miles between Airport Drive on the south and Goshen Avenue on the north. Auxiliary lanes were constructed on SR 198 between Plaza Drive and SR 99. The work included widening the structure overcrossing SR 198 from three to seven lanes to improve traffic circulation and capacity. Four retaining walls were required to minimize impacts to a hotel, park and high-risk utility fiber-optic and gas lines.
TRC has worked with the city of Visalia since 2000 on three interchange projects on the SR 198 corridor. The Plaza Drive Interchange project won the 2013 Project of the Year Award in the Economic Development Category from the Tulare County Association of Governments.