The ever evolving landscape of Temecula’s Old Town is set to change again in 2014, as a number of new projects reach their completion.
One of those projects, Temecula’s Main Street Bridge, has been another example of how the city frequently updates its look as a larger number of individuals come to call it home.
The project is slated for completion in late March after many months of work and its estimated final cost is going to be more than $7 million.
It will be marked by rustic steel trusses, planters, ornate lighting, and pillars that match those at the entrances to the main street drag in Old Town.
Lookout points at the midpoint of the bridge will provide a view of the Temecula Creek and sidewalks will facilitate an easier route for pedestrian traffic, according to Temecula’s Lead Engineer Amer Attar.
Attar said that initial construction of the bridge began not long after the demolition of an older bridge in April of 2013.
That bridge was not marked by any distinguishing characteristics other than its mostly wooden exterior and was constructed in 1945.
The new bridge was designed with rustic steel trusses and other unique features because its designers wanted it to blend in with Old Town’s architecture, according to Attar.
“The reason the steel was chosen was because it has a rusty look to fit with the Old Town area and the surrounding improvements,” Attar said. “So it was meant to be that way. We didn’t just go and build a regular concrete bridge; we definitely went and tried to build something that would be a signature for Old Town.”
One of the key issues with the bridge that needed to be rectified was making it more pedestrian-friendly than its older counterpart, which Attar said was not up to current standards.
The older bridge gave pedestrians a very narrow space to move about with only two to three feet of space on either side of vehicle lanes.
The newer bridge, however, was specifically designed to give people more than 10 feet of space to walk in. The lookouts at the midpoint of the bridge will add an additional five feet to the pedestrian walkways for a total of 15 feet of walking space in some areas.
The sidewalks themselves will be different from the walking paths on the demolished bridge. They will be made with a standard concrete but will look like they were done by professional pavers through a combination of coloring and sidewalk stamping, according to the engineer.
Most of the $7 million project was financed through a grant from the Highway Bridge Program, a federally funded initiative that allows for the facilitation of projects like the bridge, according to Temecula’s City Manager Aaron Adams.
Adams said that after attaining grant funds such as those provided by HBP, City Council members then approved the funds as part of a five year capital improvement program, which is a planning document for one time expenditures.
The City Manager said a variety of upcoming projects are included in that five year document and that many of those projects will reach their completion within the next several years.
Adams said those projects include an overcrossing in French Valley, the widening of the southbound portion of Winchester road, a new interchange project at the intersection of I-15 and Highway 79 south, and road rehabilitations.
“There’s quite a bit going on,” Adams said. “We have a $360 million capital improvement program, so that’s sort of a snapshot at five years and we evaluate that every year. So during the spring of 2014, we’ll be presenting to the City Council and will be re-evaluating priorities.”
For hourly snapshots of the bridge in construction, visit cityoftemecula.workzonecam.com/cityoftemecula.