By ABBY SOUZA
Because of long waits at state Department of Motor Vehicles offices in the Central Valley, residents of valley towns often head to DMV offices in the foothills.
And with the Modesto DMV office closing temporarily, the Sonora and San Andreas offices could see even more valley residents in line.
"It's certainly a possibility," said California DMV spokesman Steve Haskins.
The Modesto DMV on Burney Street will close for three months beginning Friday for repairs. The 25-year-old building needs lighting, heating and air conditioning fixes, as well as new counters, furniture, flooring and ceiling tiles, Haskins said.
People who use the Modesto office must find alternatives for the next 12 weeks or so.
"We've tried to get the word out," Haskins said. "We're urging people to get things done ahead of time."
Still, those with DMV business to do have several options. For example, most vehicle registration matters can be handled by mail, Haskins said.
Even with the vehicle license fees changes, customers can recalculate their fees themselves and send in checks or money orders to the DMV. The state's DMV Web site www.dmv.ca.gov also has a VLF calculator.
"Almost no registration transactions need to be done in (the) office," Haskins said.
There are also several drop-off locations in Stanislaus County where customers can pay registration bills. The employment development departments in Modesto and Oakdale, and the sheriff's and California Highway Patrol offices in Modesto, will accept registration payments until the Modesto DMV office reopens.
If none of those options work, customers can still go to neighboring DMVs to take driving tests and renew licenses.
The DMV office closest to Modesto is in Turlock. Sonora's DMV office is 52.2 miles east of the Modesto DMV, and the San Andreas office is 54.6 miles northeast.