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Better bridging the American River at Coloma: Mission Accomplished

Completion of new Highway 49 bridge marked by Caltrans
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Gus Thomson/Auburn Journal

COLOMA - Safer pedestrian and cyclist crossings of the American River's south fork at Coloma are being promised by Caltrans with the completion of a new $22 million Highway 49 bridge.

First proposed by Caltrans eight years ago, completion of the project was marked with a ribbon cutting and speeches today - even though work was carrying on nearby and traffic controls were still in place.

El Dorado County Supervisor Michael Ranalli said the long slog to completion was worth it.

"It's been somewhat of a strain on the community and somewhat of a strain on businesses but we know it's for the better," Ranalli said.

Caltrans District Director Amarjeet Benipal said that that the state transportation agency has kept the Coloma area in mind as it planned and constructed the bridge, replacing a structure built in 1951 and deemed not up to seismic safety standards.

A wider sidewalkS and more shoulder room for cyclists are two features built into the new bridge. Below, rafters will be seeing an esthetically pleasing bridge from a river viewpoint, he said.

"The bridge is adding one more asset to this culturally rich community," Benipal said.

Watch a video on the bridge at: https://www.facebook.com/auburnjournal/