A new bridge that will eliminate the potentially deadly conflict between motorists and trains will open Feb. 19 over the railroad tracks that cross Magnolia Avenue in Home Gardens, along a route that carries 20,000 vehicles per day.
Magnolia Avenue was closed between Lincoln and Buchanan streets in January 2015 to construct the bridge over the BNSF rail line. The county Transportation Department in December 2013 awarded a $34 million bridge construction contract to OHL USA Inc. Overall, the project cost $42 million, including engineering costs and other expenses beyond construction.
Magnolia Avenue in that area is a four-lane road linking Riverside with Corona. It was closed to through traffic in January 2015 as a safety precaution for the public and for workers while the 1,461-foot bridge was built. The bridge – the longest in Riverside County – will eliminate the conflict between trains and autos, improve pedestrian safety, reduce congestion and traffic delays, and improve emergency-vehicle response.
“These complicated projects are expensive and can take time,” Supervisor John Tavaglione noted. “But the bridge eliminates a crossing and makes it safer and faster for trains and vehicles to move through the area. That is especially important when people’s lives depend on a quick response by emergency vehicles.”
Riverside County plans to open two traffic lanes in each direction along the bridge on Feb. 19, to help with the 91 Steer Clear effort. That entire weekend, the Riverside County Transportation Commission plans a complete shutdown of Hwy. 91 in the area to accommodate highway construction. More information about the closure is available at 91 Steer Clear webpage.
After the closure ends, only one traffic lane in each direction will remain open on the bridge while work continues on the bridge deck. Construction is expected to be completed in April, when two lanes in each direction will reopen, along with a pedestrian path and wide shoulders to accommodate bicycles. The project also included new frontage roads that serve the multiple businesses adjacent to the railroad tracks. The frontage roads also will be open to traffic.
For more information and updates about about the project, visit http://rcprojects.org/magnolia/