MONTEBELLO (CBS) — Five months after being destroyed by a tanker truck fire, the Paramount Boulevard bridge over the Pomona Freeway is set to open just in time for the Monday morning commute.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports the expedited project received high praise on Friday from Montebello state senator Ron Calderon.
“This bridge, once again, is the tie that binds,” said Calderon after the $40 million project — which began in March and was originally not expected to be finished until mid-June — has been completed weeks ahead of schedule.
Calderon, who lives in Montebello, was joined by several officials at a morning conference at the bridge to celebrate the pending re-opening.
Caltrans crews will be making finishing touches to the bridge on Friday and through the weekend to prepare it for Monday’s opening.
The Paramount Boulevard bridge, originally built in 1967, was shut down following the Dec. 14 fire, which forced a lengthy closure of the 60 between the Long Beach (710) and San Gabriel River (605) freeways while crews assessed the integrity of the structure.
The bridge was demolished once it was determined the fire had caused too much damage. The demolition work was completed in late February.
Calderon said the shutdown was a major disruption not only for motorists, but also local merchants who saw their sales revenue plunge in the days following the fire.
“We’re very concerned about losing business and having enough traffic to keep their doors open,” he said. “Couldn’t have happened at a worse time, but it’s all about keeping this community economically vibrant and connected.”
The $40 million cost to rebuild the bridge will be reimbursed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, according to Caltrans.
The new bridge will be 128 feet wide — 32 feet wider than the old one — and will include an additional northbound lane, an eight-foot shoulder, a 14- foot center median and six-foot sidewalks, according to Caltrans.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)