By Dennis T. Agar

As Director of Caltrans District 10, which covers Tuolumne County, I would like to thank the community for the patience and cooperation shown during the renovation of the James E. Roberts Memorial Bridge on State Route 120.

I’d like to explain why this is a success story for residents of Tuolumne County, as well as the visitors and tourists who will travel over this bridge.

There was some confusion over the price of the bridge, so let’s clear that up: The $20.8 million cited earlier in this project was the estimated capital construction cost. That is in addition to the $6.37 million for design and construction support, funding for engineers and others to deliver this project.

I am proud of our team, including Golden State Bridge, Inc., for completing the project promptly while under budget. It was a challenge, given that last winter was one of California’s wettest and wildest in decades. We also adjusted our construction schedule to perform the bridge deck replacement during winter and constrained closures during nighttime hours to minimize impacts on the local economy and tourism industry.

The project, which began in the summer of 2016, provides a new bridge deck and railings, strengthens the existing girders, improves the bridge’s seismic strength and reduces the need for frequent repairs.

We anticipated completion by Thanksgiving 2017, but that was delayed by weather and the decision to paint the bridge while it was already being worked on — a move that saved taxpayer dollars. While vehicles had been restricted to one-way traffic during the project, the bridge was open to all traffic in both directions before Christmas Day.

There will be a few more expenditures as we close out the project, but as it stands, we estimate we are $800,000 under the project’s $27.17 million budget.

The re-constructed James E. Roberts Bridge will improve the efficiency of travel and safety for motorists in Tuolumne County for another 40 years of service.

Dennis T. Agar is Caltrans District 10 director. Contact Dennis T. Agar at dennis.t.agar@dot.ca.gov or (209) 948-7943

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