The recent traffic shift onto the new bridge over the Stanislaus River along McHenry Avenue has paved the way for the demolition of the old bridge, as work continues on the McHenry Avenue improvement project.
Project officials report that a major milestone in the Project’s progress occurred on Friday, April 27 when the eastern half of McHenry Avenue’s replacement bridge relieved the existing structure from its duty of servicing motorists across the Stanislaus River.
“It’s a bittersweet moment as the temporary shift on the new structure signals the demolition of the existing bridge, which proudly served the public for 59 years,” said Kris Balaji, Director of the San Joaquin County Department of Public Works. “The inevitable onset of structural deterioration and the lack of space to meet future traffic demands, requires the torch to be passed down to a new and improved bridge.”
The new 1200-foot structure will be wider, safer, and more aesthetic than its predecessor. County officials plan on attending the first day of demolition activities to memorialize the existing bridge before it is torn down to make way for the western half of the replacement bridge.
The completed structure, along with the remainder of the Corridor improvements, are still on schedule for completion by summer 2020. The crew worked all night on Thursday, April 26, to make the shift happen before the rush of morning traffic.
The old bridge will be survived by the river and the nearby temporary “bean-a-bout,” which recently underwent a makeover.
The new half bridge structure is already two feet wider than the existing 30-foot wide bridge. The total width of the replacement bridge will be more than 75-feet and will include a sidewalk and five-foot paved shoulders to accommodate bicyclists.
Bridge demolition will take about three weeks to complete, said officials.
Meanwhile, the inception of the temporary roundabout was spurred out of the necessity to relieve traffic congestion along the Corridor, one year prior to the start of construction. The bean-a-bout was scheduled for removal during construction to accommodate various work zones within the intersection. However, public feedback on the bean-a-bout was so positive that the Project Team had to return to the drawing board and figure out how to continue utilizing it for the benefit of motorists.
The third version of the temporary roundabout is dubbed as the “iAbout 3.0.” Due to its “non-fixed” setup, constructed with low cost and reusable material, the iAbout 3.0 can accommodate various geometric changes within the intersection.
“The temporary roundabout is probably one of the most innovative traffic handling ideas to be implemented on a busy intersection,” said San Joaquin County Supervisor, Chuck Winn. “We are pleased that residents found the bean-a-bout worthwhile and are happy that Project staff found a way to continue its utility and value.”