FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 10, 2013 –
By Steve Marschke
It’s a long-planned piece of Southport infrastructure:
The City of West Sacramento is now soliciting bids for construction of a new bridge to connect the northern cul-de-sac of South River Road to its opposite on the south side of the barge canal.
The new bridge is expected to cost just under $10 million, and to be finished by September of 2014. The costs are entirely picked up by a state grant originally intended the Port of West Sacramento deepen its shipping channel. But that dredging project has been delayed.
The new bridge will cross the barge canal with the Sacramento River nearby on one side and the existing Jefferson Boulevard bridge on the other. It’s meant to help connect Southport to the freeway and to northern West Sacramento, and that connection is also expected to help spur urban redevelopment of the now-industrial South River Road corridor between the freeway and the planned bridge. (One of the first projects in the door on that corridor could be a brewery and beer garden reported on by the News-Ledger on June 26).
The new bridge will also provide another piece of the “loop road” system intended by the city and its hired master planners two decades ago for Southport. The plan envisioned most of the traffic flowing through Southport to be not on Jefferson Boulevard, but on a traffic loop flowing south from the freeway on South River Road, across lower Southport, and back north on Southport Parkway.
The southern arc of that loop remains to be built, but the News-Ledger asked Mayor Christopher Cabaldon if the new South River Road connection still looks that as important as it did to city planners in the early ‘90s.
“It absolutely is,” answered Cabaldon. “We’re not done with Southport, and the loop is not complete because the (planned) villages on the east side of Jefferson are not done yet. Once the loop is complete, that will be the most important arterial in and out of Southport.”
He added that, when Southport is fully built out, the loop will carry traffic “on a reasonably similar magnitude to Jefferson Boulevard.” Jefferson now does the heavy lifting for traffic in Southport, although residents can also opt to use Lake Washington Boulevard as a way in and out of the south-city.
Design of the planned Pioneer Bluff Bridge was handled for the City by Dokken Engineering.
The new bridge is planned to be one lane in each direction (expandable to two), with separate six-foot bike lanes, six-foot walkways (separated from traffic by a barrier) and a two-foot center median. It will be decorated with a “gold picket railing” and a half-circle pedestrian overlook at mid-span on each side.
The bridge will measure 615 feet long and 80 feet wide, according to a city staff report.
What it won’t do is move. Or climb very much.
The federal government has decommissioned the West Sacramento barge canal as a navigable waterway. That means the new bridge doesn’t have to be designed tall enough for ships to pass underneath, and it doesn’t have to get out of their way as a drawbridge would. So West Sacramento can build this new bridge low and relatively cheap.
The bridge project includes installation of signal lights at South River Road and 15th Street. It doesn’t include renovation or expansion of South River Road itself – a project that will wait for another day.
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Copyright News-Ledger 2013