Residents sound off over bridge traffic safety, noisy construction

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PICO RIVERA – Cesar Bejarano worries about an increase in head-on collisions unless the nearly-finished temporary Beverly Boulevard bridge comes complete with a center divider. These and other concerns were voiced by residents of the Villa Nova Mobile Home Park in Pico Rivera to city officials regarding the scheduled re-opening of the fire-destroyed bridge. The mobile home park is adjacent to the eastern abutment of the bridge, which burned down Nov. 1 after a transient allegedly started a fire to stay warm. With a scheduled re-opening date of Feb. 10, city officials wanted to advise the local residents and businesses of traffic control and safety issues regarding the entrance to the park, according to Pico Rivera City Manager Chuck Fuentes. They did so on Wednesday night. Pico Rivera owns 72 percent of the bridge, while Montebello owns the remaining 28 percent. Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Works is the lead agency in the rebuilding efforts. The temporary bridge is being installed along the north side of the burned-out span and will provide a single lane of traffic in each direction while construction of a permanent bridge is completed, said Michael Moore, Pico Rivera’s director of public works. But Bejarano, 65, worries that the bridge is too narrow for opposing traffic to travel so closely without a physical barrier. “Without a center barrier, I’m afraid we’ll have some awful head-on accidents,” said Bejarano, 65. “I drive a bus and every day I see impatient people fighting each other to get around me, especially during rush hour. There’s a lax time in the evenings when I see some high speeds. If someone wanted to get around another car on the bridge – well, that’s an accident waiting to happen.” Moore said only a yellow line will divide the two lanes but circumstances will keep traffic at a safe speed. “We think there will be a natural barrier with the construction zone and traffic narrowed to two lanes,” Moore said. “Of course, we’ll have the Sheriff’s Department involved & they’ll be out there for the first days and I’m sure they’ll be writing a lot of tickets.” Some residents complained about the noise of the ongoing construction with workers often working late hours in order to install the temporary bridge by their Feb. 10 target date. A giant crane lifted the first of three Lego-like bridge sections onto metal piers Wednesday as workers assembled the temporary structure. “Hey, if it’s noisy, that means they’re working!” shouted one woman, to a round of applause. Fuentes said that as long as there was a declaration of emergency in place, the construction workers would be working extended hours some days, depending on circumstances. “When we declared an emergency with the feds, we were able to have double shifts reimbursed, which would normally be a lot more expensive,” Fuentes said. “Once the temporary bridge is in, the emergency will be over because traffic will be restored with the two lanes opened. Then, the second half of the bridge will be single shift.” Resident Rosa Lares said she looks forward to saving money on gas once the bridge is reopened. “I’ll be glad when it’s open again because it’s so expensive to go around and around to get to Montebello,” Lares said. “I’m very happy the city people took the consideration to come here and talk to us.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029last_img read more