Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fast Track Bridge

Couldn’t be too soon for the residents.

Work to begin on Folsom span
Bridge near dam will ease congested commutes in city.
By Tony Bizjak and Cathy Locke - Bee Staff Writers
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, February 22, 2007

For Folsom's beleaguered commuters, there's finally a concrete reason for hope.

Today, federal and local officials, including Reps. John Doolittle and Dan Lungren, will break ground on a hillside near Folsom Dam, starting construction on a new $117 million bridge.

For residents and commuters, the four-lane bridge and a new, 2-mile connector road can't come too soon. Folsom, a commute crossroads between El Dorado and Placer counties, has suffered some of the region's worst "cut through" traffic congestion on its residential streets for three years.

The trigger was a federal decision in 2003 to close the road atop Folsom Dam for safety reasons, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Federal officials determined that public vehicles on the dam made it vulnerable to terrorist attack. The new bridge, which is more than 100 yards from the dam, won federal support and financing as the alternative route.

Although work on the bridge is not expected to begin for several weeks, the project already is being hailed as a unique accomplishment in the typically slow-moving world of road building.

"This moved along with the speed of light," Mayor Andy Morin said. "It's amazing to think that in a year and a half, and maybe a few months, we'll be cutting a ribbon."