Tracy begins replacing 11th Street bridge

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michael macielTRACY — Tracy is saying goodbye to a landmark, but it is very much looking forward to its replacement.

The 11th Street bridge has been the eastern entryway to Tracy since 1936. It was widened in 1960, but the city’s traffic has outgrown the bridge. It’s also showing its age.

“For the last 15 years it has been deteriorating very much faster than normally bridges do,” said the city’s Utilities Director Kul Sharma.

Rather than simply retrofitting the bridge, the city has decided to tear it down and build a new one. The project will cost $36.1 million. The federal bridge retrofit program will pay $32 million. Proposition 1B funds will provide $2.1 million. The city will pay the remaining $2 million from the gas tax.

Mayor Michael Maciel said when the project is finished two-and-a-half years from now, the city will not only have a better looking bridge but one that sets the table for economic development.

“We’re going to be looking at development to the east probably,” Maciel said. “We have all the northeast industrial area — Amazon and everything right over here. It’s conceivable there will be more growth and available land here.”

He also said there is talk of increased rail traffic. Plans call for the new bridge to be part of an elevated intersection that will provide Tracy with its first above-grade rail crossing.

The new bridge will be wider than the current one with bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. Designs call for landscaped retaining walls, historical monuments and street lights.

Crews will construct a prefabricated temporary bridge while construction is underway on the permanent bridge. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction, and the speed limit will be lower. The old bridge will be dismantled and then construction will begin on the new bridge.

While Maciel is looking forward to the new, better-looking bridge, he said people in Tracy may miss the old one.

“It’s a real landmark that’s going away,” Maciel said. “It’s something that for most of us has always been there, and now it’s not going to be there anymore. It’s going to be something else.”

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