• December 10, 2023

Visalia Fire Station 56 construction expected to cause traffic delays near Lovers Lane


Construction on Fire Station 56, which began in January, has been making “substantial progress,” Visalia city officials said.

The next phase of construction requires the installation of a new traffic signal. Construction began Wednesday and will continue through the end of the year, city officials said. Traffic delays are expected throughout the duration of the traffic signal installation.

“The Fire Station 56 project team is fully committed to ensuring our community’s safety,” Visalia Assistant Engineer Jaklin Rowley said. “We genuinely appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation as we carry out this work. Through our collective efforts, we are enhancing the safety of Visalia and better preparing for emergencies.”

Construction is planned for the median and a connection will be made to the existing signal at the intersection of Lovers Lane and Tulare Avenue.

Tulare and Lovers will remain open, but the median lanes may be closed at times. There will also be lane restrictions and times when the signal at Tulare and Lovers will operate in flash to ensure that traffic flows “smoothly and safely,” city officials said.

Drivers are asked to use caution and treat the signal as an all-way stop.

“At all times, please be prepared to reduce speed in these areas for the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, and construction crews,” city officials stated. “Please watch for signage and flaggers to direct traffic when lanes are closed.”

The new signal will only be in use when the fire department is responding to a call and will allow the fire department to exit the station onto Lovers Lane more quickly when responding to emergencies.

The future of Fire Station 56

In 2006, Visalia established Fire Station 56 within the Cal Fire property on Lovers Lane and Walnut Avenue. The city leased an engine bay and one building for the firefighters’ living quarters.

The shared facility “was never meant to be a permanent solution,” Visalia Fire Chief Daniel Griswold said.

In 2021, the city decided to build a new firehouse using Measure N public safety dollars and relocate Fire Station 56. The city had recently purchased a lot on Lovers and Tulare for $294,000, and chose to keep the station in east Visalia.

“The cooperative agreement between [VFD] and Cal Fire has served us and the community well for 15 years now,” Battalion Chief Danny Wristen said in 2021. “Building a new station has always been on the agenda. Figuring out how to fund it was the difficult part.”

Fire Station 56 aims to enhance Visalia’s safety and emergency response capabilities in east Visalia, city officials said.

When construction is complete in 2024, the 6,800-square-foot station will include living quarters and two apparatus spaces, which will house the engines. After construction, there will be a transition and move-in period before the station is fully operational, according to city spokesperson Kiley Arce.

The cost of the project was estimated at $5,670,000.


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