Route 66 in the News

Route 66-Themed Bridge Planned

2010-10-24 20:38:17

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - Construction on a street widening project will begin next week with work on a new bridge, trailhead park and additional lanes on Foothill Boulevard.

Next summer, when the first phase of the project is scheduled to be complete, there will be a Route 66 themed bridge to replace the 81-year-old Pacific Electric Railway bridge near Baker Avenue. There will be a 3-acre park on the north side of Foothill and east of the bridge with benches, equestrian access and parking spaces.

City leaders on Wednesday held a ceremonial ground breaking to mark the start of the $8.2million phase of the project.

"This project is a result of years of planning and years of patience," said Councilman Dennis Michael.

Plans to tear down the old bridge and widen this narrow portion of Foothill to six lanes have been in the works since the mid-1990s.

The final phase of the Foothill widening project, from Grove Avenue to San Bernardino Road, is set to begin in April. When the entire project is complete in November 2011, Foothill will have sidewalks, bicycle lanes and a center median. By the end of next year, the western portion of the street will take on the modern appearance of the eastern portion within the city.

According to City Engineer Mark Steuer, 30,000 vehicles travel through this part of Foothill every day.

The new bridge -- which is part of the Pacific Electric Trail that crosses Foothill -- will feature artwork depicting scenes of California and Illinois, the end points of Route 66. According to Associate Engineer Curt Billings, one end of the bridge will feature art of palm trees and the Pacific Ocean. On the other end, there will be windmills and white oaks, Illinois' state tree.

Just east of the bridge will be a park featuring the same varieties of grapevines that were first brought to the area from the San Gabriel Mission. A portion of the old bridge, which was torn down in July, will be preserved as a monument at the park and a section of the original Route 66 will also be preserved.

"What means the most to us is maintaining the Mother Road," said Victoria Jones, president of the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail. "This area has transformed so much. It won't even look like old Cucamonga anymore. Sometimes, progress is a good thing."

~Wendy Leung, DailyBulletin.com

 

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