Construction is underway to replace the 1947 bridge spanning the Tuolumne River between Empire and Hughson.
The Santa Fe Avenue Bridge is costing $14.3 million in state and federal funds.
Earlier this year the county awarded the construction bid to Myers & Sons Construction.
The new structure is being situated just east of the existing bridge, which was declared functionally obsolete by Caltrans. The existing bridge near Lakewood Memorial Park is considered too narrow, having a width of only 24 feet from curb to curb and only allows for two lanes of traffic with no shoulder on either side. The proposed replacement structure will have two 12-foot travel lanes, 8-foot shoulders and a 12-foot center median lane to accommodate safe turning movements to and from existing driveways located at both ends of the bridge.
The project is expected to take at least two years, opening in 2020.
Further to the east, the county is planning to replace the 1964 Waterford-Hickman bridge which Caltrans says is "structurally deficient" and is a "scour critical" bridge due to concerns about seismic vulnerability and scouring at the bridge foundations. A "scour critical" bridge means the ground and soils at and around the foundation of the bridge supports is eroding or failing.
The replacement bridge will provide two 12-foot-wide travel lanes and two 8-foot wide shoulders to meet design standards. It will be constructed immediately adjacent to the existing structure, in order to keep the existing road and bridge open to public during construction.