Valley DMV users rerouted

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By ABBY SOUZA

Because of long waits at California Department of Motor Vehicles offices in the Central Valley, residents of valley towns often head to DMV branches in the foothills.

And with the Modesto DMV office closing temporarily, the San Andreas and Sonora offices could see even more valley residents in line.

"It's certainly a possibility," said state DMV spokesman Steve Haskins.

The Modesto DMV on Burney Street will close for three months beginning tomorrow 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 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 state Employment Development Department offices 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.

But those who need driving tests must go to neighboring DMVs. The DMV office closest to Modesto is in Turlock. Sonora's DMV office is 52.2 miles east of Modesto, and the San Andreas office is 54.6 miles northeast.

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