The CHP Merced Area office has traffic safety responsibilities and serves the communities for the unincorporated areas of eastern Merced County. The geographic make-up of Merced County is primarily agricultural. Merced County encompasses approximately 1,934 square miles and has an estimated population of 263,228 residents. Many of these residents live within unincorporated townships located throughout the county. The City of Merced is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, the world’s most productive agricultural area, and extents from the San Joaquin River to the foothills of Yosemite National Park. In 2005, Merced County became home to the newest University of California campus located at 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343. In 1995, the CHP Merced Area office is located to the City of Atwater adjacent to State Route 99. The CHP Merced Area patrols approximately 43 miles of State Route 99, beginning at the Stanislaus County line and continuing south to the Madera County line. Motorists also travel along additional state routes, including State Route 59, State Route 165, and State Route 140, which is a major route for motorists traveling to Yosemite National Park. The CHP Merced Area office includes the Merced Communications Center, which staffs 31 public safety dispatchers. The Merced Communications Center is responsible for the communication of emergency services for eight CHP Area offices, which include: Merced, Los Banos, Modesto, Mariposa, Sonora, Oakhurst, Madera, and the Chowchilla River Commercial Enforcement Facility.