Tuesday Mar 01 2011
The wait is on: Foresthill Bridge traffic down to one lane
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Traffic along the Foresthill Bridge is down to one lane and delays are stopping flows on weekdays as construction crews are at work on a $74.4 million improvement project. The bridge traffic Tuesday was slowed. But two weeks into short delays, drivers like 17-year-old Foresthill High School student Mariah Quintanilla were taking the down time in stride. “I don’t mind the delays but then again I’m not a busy person,” Quintanilla said Tuesday. Kevin Carlson was Auburn-bound and willing to weather a wait as he listened to tunes on his truck’s stereo and watched the line of vehicles move along the north lane of the two-lane bridge toward him. Construction crew members and machines were massed at the eastern end of the bridge as work progressed out of sight below the deck to install work platforms under the span. “If they gotta fix they’ve gotta fix it,” Carlson said. “It’s a small inconvenience. Imagine how much it would cost going around – about $4 in gas.” The bridge project gets 88.53 percent of its funding from federal coffers and another 11.47 percent from state seismic-safety funds. The iconic structure is being repainted and retrofitted to modern earthquake standards. New concrete bridge decking will be installed in the center, a new catwalk system will be built and existing bridge deck joint seals and assemblies will be replaced. “That’s a lot,” Quintanilla said, reacting to the estimated cost. “I didn’t know that but it would be pretty devastating if something happened to the bridge.” Updates on the bridge construction schedule and traffic controls are available to the public at the project hotline (530-889-5873) or at foresthillbridgerenewal.com. Drivers can sign up for traffic alerts and progress reports.