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Workers at the roundabout construction site late last week (photos by Leonard Andrenacci)

County: North Fork Roundabout to Open Before Thanksgiving

Recent drone photo of construction site (courtesy Madera County Public Works)

NORTH FORK — The future is coming to North Fork in a “round about” way.

Construction of Madera County’s first public roundabout is on schedule and set to be finished later next month, according to Ahmad Alkhayyat, Madera County’s director of public works.

“The currently expected completion date is prior to Thanksgiving, with the final traffic pattern going into effect in the second week of November,” Alkhayyat said this week.

The $1.97 million dollar project, funded by a federal clean air grant and local Measure T dollars, is transforming the intersection of Roads 225 and 274, which was previously a three-way stop that allowed northbound traffic out of North Fork on Road 225 to proceed up the steep grade without stopping.

The intersection’s unconventional, original design was created to allow logging trucks heading uphill to keep their forward momentum as they delivered their loads to North Fork’s former lumber mill.

Construction began on the roundabout in mid-June. Fresno-based American Paving has served as the general contractor on the project.

Brandon Best, the foreman on the job, said this week that everything has been going “smoothly.”

The new roundabout will be highly visible, with street lights soon scheduled to be installed 500 feet in front of the approach to the intersection from all sides as well as above the roundabout itself.

Area near roundabout where new Mono Museum sign will be placed

Prior to the project’s approval earlier this year, District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler was one of the roundabout’s most vocal proponents. But fierce public debate about whether North Fork needed — or wanted — the new circular intersection divided the community.

Now that the new intersection is nearly complete, many locals seem to have warmed up to the project.

“I think it’s turning out pretty well,” said one longtime North Fork resident. “The construction zone hasn’t really been too difficult to deal with and it looks a lot cooler than I expected.”

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians is expected to install a new sign next to the roundabout pointing the way to the Tribe’s museum, which is adjacent to the project and scheduled to reopen later this year.

*Additional reporting by Leonard Andrenacci.

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