Caltrans began preliminary work for the Mad River Bridges replacement project on Route 101 near McKinleyville Feb. 27.
Workers are currently preparing to drive the first two piles to support the southern end of the new southbound bridge. These piles will be tested to ensure that the soil will be supportive of the design of the bridge as planned.
“Much time and effort have gone into planning these bridges,” said Tom Fitzgerald, Caltrans area construction engineer. “This final test ensures that these bridges will be as strong and resilient as they were designed to be.”
Once the piles are in place and thoroughly tested, crews will move on to prepare for the second set of piles. Each bridge will have an abutment on each end and three piers supporting the spans. Each pier is comprised of two piles each except the northern most pier of the northbound bridge, which has three piles to accommodate the Central Avenue off ramp.
The existing bridges, built in 1929 and 1958, are nearing the end of their useful life. This project will improve the junction of Route 101 and Route 200 (also known as North Bank Road). The northbound bridge will include a separate multipurpose path for nonmotorized traffic. The new bridges will also feature improved lighting and shoulders.
“Caltrans is very proud of this project,” said Charlie Fielder, Caltrans District 1 director. “The end result will be a much improved facility for motorists as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.”
No changes to traffic flow are expected for at least the next five months. Advance notice will be given prior to any redirecting of traffic. This project is expected to be complete in 2013.