QUESTION: Why are there no off/on ramps at Old Wards Ferry and Highway 108? It seems like the most logical of places, where the county juvenile hall, hospital, shopping etc. are and more buildings in the area to come. It’s very confusing for people driving by to see where they want to go but uncertain how to get there.

ANSWER: We tossed this question over to Caltrans, and Rick Estrada, the public information officer for District 10, answered.

The short answer is a ramp at Old Wards Ferry Road would be too close to Mono Way. In transportation speak, he’s referring to the minimum interchange spacing standard, which in rural areas such as ours, is 2 miles.

Old Wards Ferry is 0.66 of a mile from Mono Way.

Estrada thought he was done, but we had more questions. The reader has a good point about how hard it is to figure out how to get to the Law and Justice Center, where the Mother Lode Regional Juvenile Detention Center is and the Tuolumne County Jail and Tuolumne County Courthouse are under construction.

You see it — fleetingly — as you zoom by on Highway 108 and then you think, wait, that’s where I want to be. No directional signs?

Estrada offered Google directions: “Turn west onto Mono Way, after exiting SR-108, then turn south on Greenley Road/Old Wards Ferry Road, and the jail is two minutes down the road. That’s two turns and perhaps a five-minute drive from the highway to the jail,” he said.

But what if we want signs like those that say CSU Hayward on Highway 238 or some other destination. (Business signs like fuel, food, are a whole different matter — those people have to pay annual fees and obtain a permit from Caltrans.)

Here’s what Estrada said, “To start the process of having a sign placed on SR-108 in this area, residents would contact our Tuolumne County field permit engineer (Alan Roberts at Alan.Roberts@dot.ca.gov or 209-736-0253). Alan would be the first contact because he is our local representative up there. It is possible an encroachment permit would be needed for a sign to be placed on the highway.

“Hopefully the interested party would be able to provide Alan with their request of what the sign would say, where it would be placed and why it is beneficial to the travelling public. Caltrans would then analyze the request and provide a response to the inquirer.”

Send your questions to editor@uniondemcrat.com .

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