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Los Alamos Bridge to Stay Open During Construction

Murrieta City Council votes to keep the Los Alamos Road bridge over Interstate 15 open during a future widening project.

The Los Alamos Road bridge over Interstate 15 will stay open during upcoming construction, the Murrieta City Council decided Tuesday.

Faced with the option of tearing the bridge down and replacing it, Council voted 3-0 to keep one lane operating in each direction during the $6.7-million project. Public safety was cited as a deciding factor.

The city's police and fire chiefs were on hand to answer questions Council members had. Councilwoman Kelly Bennett asked how closing the bridge would affect response times.

"As fire chief I would have some fairly grave concerns if we lost fire access across that bridge," said Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert. "...If we were to eliminate that bridge for a number of months, it would negatively impact our ability to provide service on either side of the freeway."

Firefighter/paramedic Dean Hale pointed out that three engines are located on the east side of Interstate 15, and two on the west.

The project—approved as part of the city's capital improvements plan—will widen the bridge, adding a lane in each direction. The bridge also has to be raised to meet new California Department of Transportation standards for clearance.

Replacing the bridge entirely would have saved the city approximately $260,000 and would have been completed one and a half months sooner, according to City Engineer and Public Works Director Pat Thomas.

Mayor Doug McAllister and Councilman Randon Lane abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest; McAllister because he has worked for Verizon in the last 12 months, and Lane because he currently works for Southern California Gas Company.

Utility lines from both companies will need to be relocated for the bridge work. If the bridge were to be replaced, the gas line would need to be relocated to beneath the freeway. Verizon copper and FIOS lines would have to be moved to a temporary location.

While city staff recommended the phased project, Thomas said a study into whether closing the bridge would adversely affect traffic showed Murrieta Hot Springs and California Oaks road could handle the temporary extra flow. The study showed about half of the 10,700 daily travelers across the bridge would be almost evenly distributed among the two roadways. However, it would also increase traffic on Madison Avenue between the two major roads.

The project will not start until the work on the California Oaks Road/Interstate 15 interchange is complete, which Thomas has said is slated for fall. Thomas has said the Los Alamos bridge project could be completed within 15 months after it starts.

But funding could be a factor, as the project is among those planned under the Murrieta Redevelopment Agency. The City Council voted to dissolve the agency Tuesday after a recent California Supreme Court ruling that upheld Legislature bills targeting redevelopment agencies. The city instead will set up a Murrieta Housing Authority as the redevelopment successor agency.

Galactic Cannibal January 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Bureaucratic interference at its best with Judges and Lawyers involved for near worthless reasons. But lest we forget this is the land of man made Laws and litigation. And for as long as fossil fuels last, and we can rape the earth, we will continue to pollute it using ICE..(Internal Combustion Engines). SO quit accusing the Chinese and Indians and other nations of polluting the air. WE do it all the time. So is the reason for this road expansion to accommodate more ICE's, that will be parked outside our standard boring big box tract homes.. Which cover the fertile earth that took more than a million years to form. Yep BLACK TOP and CONCRETE to cover the food producing fertile earth. How brilliant is that. I believe its GREED BRILLIANT. All you need to do is look at say The San Fernando Valley just North of Los Angeles. And see how its has morphed into an Urban TRASH HEAP form its once pristine Citrus growing fields. Thanks to the planners of the 1950's. So fast forward 50 years to say 2060, and the exact same TRASH HEAP will exist in the Temecula . Murrieta, Menifee, Valleys. So why not save our fertile lands and build high rise rabbit warrens with public parks. Where 4,000 to 6,000 families can live in each complex, in "PEACE and HARMONY in the Land of the FREE and the HOME of the BRAVE".
citizen January 18, 2012 at 07:33 PM
And I am sure you don't use any of those nasty, horrible, earth raping wide roads as you drive YOUR car to the health food store to get your organic produce that was delivered by semi truck on the same roads you loathe.... And they tried the rabbit warren thing... they are called housing projects- didn't turn out quite like they planned..... Keep running the world from your computer desk.... you're doing great!
M. Lee Davis February 10, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I drive over this bridge at least 4 times a day and never have any issues with the length of time it takes to get over the 15. In fact that is one of the fastest bridge to get over the 15 or the 215 including underpasses as well. I don't see a reason to redo this bridge at this time. How about the city pay off on it's promise of an overpass at Date street. That would be more beneficial to the citizens of Murrieta as well as Temecula. Maybe that is the issue. A bridge at date street would benefit Temecula residents too much.

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