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Lorenzo Espinosa operates survey equipment Thursday at the intersection of Roads 225 and 274, the site of Madera County's first public roundabout. (Photos by George Lurie)

North Fork Roundabout Construction Starts ‘Smoothly’

NORTH FORK — Work on Madera County’s first public roundabout, a $1.9-million project that will dramatically transform the intersection of Roads 225 and 274 in North Fork, kicked off this week.

Ahmad Alkhayyat, Madera County’s public works director, reported the construction work, which began Monday, is starting out “smoothly.”

“No issues thus far,” Alkhayyat said Thursday afternoon.

One of a number of subcontractors on the project, Fresno-based ESP Surveying employee Lorenzo Espinosa was operating an expensive piece of equipment called a Trimble Total Station on Thursday at the construction site. The $20,000 machine spun around on a tripod while taking precise readings of ground elevations as a backhoe across the roadway removed large scoops of dirt and deposited them in a waiting dump truck.

The measurements “are really detailed and let everybody know exactly where we’re at and how much earth is being removed,” Espinosa explained.

Standing near the center of the intersection for much of this week as he helped the machine take its measurements, Espinosa said he had not seen any motorists “having any real trouble” navigating through the construction zone.

“A lot of people take a second look as they come through and a few folks driving past have actually stopped to ask what was going on,” Espinosa recounted. “Otherwise, it’s actually been pretty quiet out here in terms of the traffic. We’re getting a lot of work done.”

Signs posted along Roads 225 and 274 approaching the intersection warn of construction ahead but on Thursday, delays were minimal at the crossing, which continues to operate as a three-way stop, with vehicles coming out of North Fork still having the right of way.

Alkhayyat said Thursday that as long as the project did not encounter any “surprises,” construction should be completed by the end of November.

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