The completion of a $16 million construction project to improve one of Santa Clarita’s busiest areas for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists was officially celebrated Wednesday.
“Today is a great day for those who regularly drive through this area because we are celebrating the completion of the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge Widening project,” Mayor Marsha McLean said during a ribbon-cutting for the occasion.
Newhall Ranch Road is considered one of the major sections of the cross-valley connector, which provides motorists a path from Interstate 5 to Highway 14 by way of surface streets. An estimated 35,000 vehicles pass through the bridge on a daily basis, said McLean.
Located in the area between Avenue Tibbitts/Dickason Drive and McBean Parkway, the project was designed to improve traffic circulation. The updated bridge now offers four travel lanes in the east and west directions, landscaped medians, a crossing path with protective concrete barriers for pedestrians and cyclists and an enhanced trail connection underneath the bridge for people to safely pass.
Ron Kosinski, Caltrans deputy district director for environmental planning, called improvements “lifestyle changing,” and local cyclists agreed, including Canyon Country resident Mark Matteson.
“We had to sit here and wait for an opening, and then we would jet across (the bridge) really quick,” Matteson said, who has been cycling in the Santa Clarita Valley for 22 years. “As a cyclist in this city, we want to just keep riding and not stop. This was always a hiccup. This is just a brilliant safety factor more than anything for us and the drivers.”
Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said during the event, “In our community, we talk a lot about the importance of building bridges and this project shows both practically and metaphorically. Completing the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge Widening project makes a significant milestone in the city of Santa Clarita’s infrastructure plan. But most of all, for me, it symbolizes a bridge the city and I have built together.”
Barger worked with the county’s Department of Public Works to allocate $3.5 million to help fund the bridge expansion, she said. The overall project falls in alignment with Santa Clarita’s 2020 plan theme of building and creating community.