Construction is name of the game for bridge with no name

By: Jim Ratajczak, The Telegraph
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For Folsom’s newest bridge, currently nameless, things are coming right along and on schedule. Kiewit workers continue to build the $117 million structure for its 2009 opening, city motorists brace for looming traffic delays as the realignment of East Natoma Street starts and spillway work keeps on keeping on – all in the name of the Bridge Without a Name. “We’re preparing to begin segmental construction (on the bridge),” said Dave Mugen, of public works. Currently, the casual observer would only see two thin free-standing pillars where the rest of the bridge should be, but the upcoming bridge segments will connect those two middle piers to one another and the abutments at either end, giving the structure a much more completed look. “Once they get to the segmental construction point, it becomes a repetitive process,” said Mugen. When the bridge is finally completed, it will connect East Natoma Street to Folsom-Auburn Road and have four lanes for motorists as well as facilities for bicyclists. “It’s going to be a much-improved facility over the old dam road,” said Public Works Director Rich Lorenz. Next to the bridge site, construction on the new spillway, an Army Corps of Engineers and United States Bureau of Reclamation project, continues. While the bridge will open next year, the spillway isn’t expected to be completed until 2015. “The spillway has a two-fold purpose,” said Lorenz. “It will improve flood control and improve dam safety.” According to Lorenz, the spillway will be a concrete-lined channel that will connect to Folsom Lake – a mini-dam capable of quickly releasing water. In order to ready the site for spillway and bridge work, Lorenz said 1.2 million cubic yards of dirt were moved, many of which are currently being stored on prison property. “It’s been kind of win-win for both of us,” said Lorenz. “If we had to haul this material in trucks, it would cost a fortune.” Because of earth moving, prison property that was formerly unusable will now be available for utilization. “The prison is pretty happy,” said Lorenz. Of course, neither project is easily visible to most residents. But roadway construction on East Natoma Street between Briggs Ranch Drive and Hancock Drive will soon cause drivers to slow for the cone zones. City planners believe realignment will better accommodate traffic from the new bridge. Mugen expects roadwork to “probably take a couple of weeks.” According to a city news release, the west Briggs Ranch Drive signal will be replaced by a one-way stop sign. Traffic will have one lane in each direction and bike access will be limited. In phase II, the west Briggs Ranch Drive intersection will be closed to public traffic while East Natoma Street is realigned. “Briggs Ranch residents may want to seek alternate routs, such as east Briggs Ranch Drive by Folsom Point or other public streets,” said Mark Rackovan, city traffic engineer.