Old McHenry Av­enue Bridge De­mo­li­tion Due

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The re­cent traf­fic shift onto the new bridge over the Stanis­laus River along McHenry Av­enue has paved the way for the de­mo­li­tion of the old bridge, as work con­tin­ues on the McHenry Av­enue improvement project.

Project of­fi­cials re­port that a ma­jor mile­stone in the Project’s progress oc­curred on Fri­day, April 27 when the east­ern half of McHenry Av­enue’s re­place­ment bridge re­lieved the ex­ist­ing struc­ture from its duty of ser­vic­ing mo­torists across the Stanis­laus River.

“It’s a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment as the tem­po­rary shift on the new struc­ture sig­nals the de­mo­li­tion of the ex­ist­ing bridge, which proudly served the pub­lic for 59 years,” said Kris Balaji, Di­rec­tor of the San Joaquin County De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works. “The in­evitable on­set of struc­tural de­te­ri­o­ra­tion and the lack of space to meet fu­ture traf­fic de­mands, re­quires the torch to be passed down to a new and im­proved bridge.”

The new 1200-foot struc­ture will be wider, safer, and more aes­thetic than its pre­de­ces­sor.

County of­fi­cials plan on at­tend­ing the first day of de­mo­li­tion ac­tiv­i­ties to memo­ri­al­ize the ex­ist­ing bridge be­fore it is torn down to make way for the west­ern half of the re­place­ment bridge.

The com­pleted struc­ture, along with the re­main­der of the Cor­ri­dor improvements, are still on sched­ule for com­ple­tion by sum­mer 2020. The crew worked all night on Thurs­day, April 26, to make the shift hap­pen be­fore the rush of morn­ing traf­fic.

The old bridge will be sur­vived by the river and the nearby tem­po­rary “bean-a-bout,” which re­cently un­der­went a makeover.

The new half bridge struc­ture is al­ready two feet wider than the ex­ist­ing 30-foot wide bridge. The to­tal width of the re­place­ment bridge will be more than 75-feet and will in­clude a side­walk and five-foot paved shoul­ders to ac­com­mo­date bi­cy­clists.

Bridge de­mo­li­tion will take about three weeks to com­plete, said of­fi­cials.

Mean­while, the in­cep­tion of the tem­po­rary round­about was spurred out of the ne­ces­sity to re­lieve traf­fic con­ges­tion along the Cor­ri­dor, one year prior to the start of con­struc­tion.

The bean-a-bout was sched­uled for re­moval dur­ing con­struc­tion to ac­com­mo­date var­i­ous work zones within the in­ter­sec­tion. How­ever, pub­lic feed­back on the bean-a-bout was so pos­i­tive that the Project Team had to re­turn to the draw­ing board and fig­ure out how to con­tinue uti­liz­ing it for the ben­e­fit of mo­torists.

The third ver­sion of the tem­po­rary round­about is dubbed as the “iAbout 3.0.” Due to its “non­fixed” setup, con­structed with low cost and re­us­able ma­te­rial, the iAbout 3.0 can ac­com­mo­date var­i­ous geo­met­ric changes within the in­ter­sec­tion.

“The tem­po­rary round­about is prob­a­bly one of the most in­no­va­tive traf­fic han­dling ideas to be im­ple­mented on a busy in­ter­sec­tion,” said San Joaquin County Su­per­vi­sor, Chuck Winn. “We are pleased that res­i­dents found the bean-a-bout worth­while and are happy that Project staff found a way to con­tinue its util­ity and value.”

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