Council members, city staff and bicycle enthusiasts gathered for the ground breaking of the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge widening on a warm Tuesday morning.
Along with widening the road, the median will be raised, there will be a protected pedestrian walkway and a bike trail under the bridge.
Construction on the $16 million-dollar project will start this summer in alignment with the Santa Clarita 2020 plan theme of building and creating community, officials said.
“This is a long time coming, but one we’re all anticipating very much,” Councilwoman Laurene Weste said.
The project will lend itself to increased safety and health of the city, Weste said. Councilmembers Marsha McLean and Bill Miranda also attended.
Funds for the project were a collaboration between the city, Los Angeles County, the Federal Highway Administration and the California Department of Transportation.
Balvinder Sandhu, the city’s associate engineer, said the project will happen in phases, starting with expansion of the south side of the bridge, then the median and concluding with the north side.
“It’s done systematically so there is minimum impact to the public,” Sandhu said.
Three lanes will be open in each direction at nearly all times during construction, Sandhu said. Most construction will be done in between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., with limited construction at night, which Sandhu said is normal.
One of the city’s original councilmembers Dennis Koontz said the city’s growth was a dream of the council 30 years ago.
“All we thought about was making the city the best,” Koontz said.
Santa Clarita’s growth is due to good city staff, available resources and community involvement, according to Koontz.
Nina Moskol, chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Bike Coalition, said the organization has anticipated this expansion for three and a half years.
“This part of the bridge has been brought to us as a safety concern for many years,” Moskol said. “We’re smoothing the rough edges out now. It’s been really cooperative.”
She said there has been a lot of communication and collaboration between the community, the coalition and the city in making the bridge safe for bicyclists, who often cross the middle of the road because there not a bridge on one side of the road.
The event was new parks commissioner Victor Lindenheim’s first in his current role, but said he’s been to lots of these types of events in the past.
“I’m wearing two hats as parks commissioner and my day job in transportation,” Lindenheim said.
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