Drivers, business owner glad Clinton overpass opens

FRESNO, California - The Clinton Avenue Highway 99 overpass opened to traffic early Wednesday morning.

The overpass closed in April for the Highway 99 realignment project. The rail authority is moving the freeway west 100 feet for the future train. The Clinton Avenue overpass was completely tore down so the train could fit under it. 

"We have been waiting a long time, we lost almost 50% business," says Manjit Singh.  

Manjit Singh owns a gas station on Clinton and Weber. Singh says sales cut in half when the overpass was torn down. 

"But I hope now that the overpass will open so we will get the business back," he says. 

The realignment project costs several hundred million dollars. 

Sam Yniguez from Caltrans says this is the first major phase to be finished. The bridge may be done, but the on and off ramps aren't. 

"Next week the northbound 99 on-ramp will open and then subsequent weeks and months the rest of the interchange will open and this will eventually be a diamond interchange," says Sam Yniguez.

There will be on and off-ramps on each side of Clinton Avenue.

Yniguez says this will make the area less congested. Drivers can expect to see constructed crews for a while. 

"Right now the ashlan overpass is being worked on that is the next phase of this project," he says.

Drivers say its been difficult having to avoid the overpass. 

"You would have to go up to ashland or shaw," says Chris Mertlik.  

Chris Mertlik works nearby he hopes the entire project makes the area's traffic flow a little bit better. 

"Just the way it is I guess," he says. "I hope it is successful in the longrun."

The entire realignment project is supposed to be complete by Fall of 2018.

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