Veterans Boulevard is a new 2.3-mile arterial surface highway located in the northwestern corner of the city of Fresno, California. Veterans Boulevard carries traffic from Shaw Avenue to Herndon Avenue via a six-lane expressway configuration. Veterans Boulevard provides access to California State Route 99 and is one of the few major diagonal roadways in Fresno. Veterans Boulevard was first introduced in the 1984 Fresno General Plan and was funded as a Fresno County Transportation Authority Measure C project. The Veterans Boulevard interchange at California State Route 99 opened to traffic on November 20, 2023.
Part 1; the history of Veterans Boulevard
The origin of Veterans Boulevard came in 1984 when it was introduced in the Fresno General Plan. The primary purpose of Veterans Boulevard was to permit the growing northwestern neighborhoods of Fresno better access to the California State Route 99 freeway (former US Route 99). Traffic in northwest Fresno prior to Veterans Boulevard had been required to use the east/west oriented Shaw Avenue or Herndon Avenue to reach California State Route 99. The detours required to reach California State Route 99 have been cited by the city as likely to cause unnecessary future traffic congestion.
The Veterans Boulevard project was refined in 1986 to include a grade separation with the Southern Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific Railroad) and North Golden State Boulevard (pre-1960 US Route 99). A Project Initiation Document was completed in 1991 and a formal corridor adoption was made in 1996.
Construction of the High Speed Rail partially altered the design of Veterans Boulevard. The High Speed Rail corridor project is slated to consume the current alignment of North Golden State Boulevard and relocate the roadway slightly west. This relocation of North Golden State Boulevard was factored into the Veterans Boulevard Project.
Veterans Boulevard was funded via the Fresno County Transportation Authority's (FCTA) Measure C. Below the design of Veterans Boulevard is contrasted to the project overpass locations. The Hayes Avenue extension was included as part of the larger Veterans Boulevard project.
Below are series of FCTA construction photos along Veterans Boulevard during 2019.
Below the nearly complete grade-separation of Veterans Boulevard can be seen from Golden State Boulevard. This photo was taken during the May 6, 2023, Fresno Road Meet.
The below photo is from northbound California State Route 99 approaching the Veterans Boulevard exit. This photo was taken on November 12, 2023, just prior to the interchange opening to traffic. Veterans Boulevard is assigned as Exit 141 along California State Route 99. Manual of Uniform Control Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) adherents will likely lament the lack of an external exit tab.
The opening ceremony for the Veterans Boulevard interchange was held on November 20, 2023, and featured on ABC30. The Veterans Boulevard interchange is noted to serve a segment of California State Route 99 which sees 70,000 vehicles a day.
Part 2; a drive on Veterans Boulevard
Pictured is the view along westbound Shaw Avenue approaching the southern end of Veterans Boulevard.
As Veterans Boulevard swings northeast from Shaw Avenue, it intersects Bryan Avenue and Barstow Avenue.
Northbound Veterans Boulevard intersects California State Route 99.
Northbound Veterans Boulevard crosses over Golden State Boulevard, the planned High Speed Rail Grade and Union Pacific Railroad. Traffic along Veterans Boulevard can descend from the overpass structure onto the new alignment of Golden State Boulevard.
Veterans Boulevard northbound intersects Riverside Drive and Bullard Avenue.
Northbound Veterans Boulevard intersects Hayes Avenue. Traffic heading to westbound Herndon Avenue is directed to turn left on Hayes Avenue.
Northbound Veterans Boulevard terminates at eastbound Herndon Avenue.
Westbound Herndon Avenue traffic is notified via an overhead guide sign to stay in the left lanes to access southbound Veterans Boulevard.
Southbound Golden State Boulevard traffic approaching Veterans Boulevard is forced onto the new alignment below the overpass structure. Traffic on the new alignment of Golden State Boulevard is forced back to the older alignment south of the Veterans Boulevard overpass via a temporary connecting road.