Tuesday, November 30, 2004

More lanes for bridge
Low bids mean extra funding
By Eugene Tong - Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA -- A new Golden Valley Road bridge will be six lanes instead of four thanks to a $1 million cost savings on the project, city officials said Monday.

The 390-foot flyover bridge will start south of Golden Triangle Road and span the railroad tracks and Soledad Canyon Road to connect with the proposed Valley Center Drive. It's part of the planned 8.5-mile, $245 million Cross Valley Connector, most of which will be six lanes.

The city saved about $1 million on the bridge when contractor bids came in well under the $16 million budget, said Robert Newman, director of building and engineering.

"The estimate that we had was within our budget, but when the bids came in, it was lower than what was estimated," he said, adding that portion of the bridge was intended to run six lanes before earlier fiscal projections forced planners to scale down to four lanes.

The additional lanes will extend the building schedule into late summer 2005, Newman said.

"The city is very pleased to be able to complete six full lanes on the bridge," City Manager Ken Pulskamp said in a statement. "This will prevent further construction inconvenience later on and maximize the capacity for the roadway."

Meantime, the city is working to gather the remaining $25 million to complete the Cross Valley Connector.

"We're making progress," Newman said. "We're not delaying any phase for lack of funding."

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, culled $5 million from the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Act to finance the Soledad-Golden Valley portion of the connector. The president has yet to sign the bill.

The 8.5-mile Cross Valley Connector will connect the Golden State and Antelope Valley freeways. It also will include six- and eight-lane arterial roadways, bridges, grade-separated crossings and intersections, including the connection of Newhall Ranch and Golden Valley roads.

The road will provide a direct east-west link between the I-5 and state Route 126 on the west and state Route 14 and the Golden Valley interchange on the east.

Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 eugene.tong@dailynews.com

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