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New River Bridge on Highway 86 now open to traffic

March 28, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Residents here were most likely surprised last week to find four lanes and an absence of barricades on the New River Bridge west of town.

For more than three years, residents have dealt with traffic diversions, delays in construction and a potentially dangerous traffic situation.

The bridge project dates back to 1996, when California Department of Transportation officials announced that it was more cost-effective to build a new bridge rather than repairing the existing one.

A redesign of the project and contractor issues have been cited as factors delaying the project.

The project was originally set to be completed in April 1997.

Caltrans resident engineer Marco Limon said the work included a complete demolition and construction of a wider and longer bridge.

The original contract amount was $5 million, said Limon.

Caltrans officials said today the project would be 100 percent complete by next week.

Brawley Mayor Wayne Johnson said this morning he was happy to see the construction finished, particularly because its longevity affected local businesses.

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"The project had to have hurt the businesses," Johnson said of the construction's impact.

City Manager Jerry Santillan said the construction caused unexpected delays on water line construction and cost the city more than expected to compensate for the delays.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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