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1st new SJ River crossing in 50+ years

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POSTED July 11, 2017 1:12 a.m.

Lathrop’s status as a river city is being dedicated Thursday.
That’s when the first span of the River Islands Parkway bridge across the San Joaquin River is being officially christened the Bradshaw Crossing in ceremonies at 4 p.m.
It will be a significant moment in San Joaquin County history as well as that off Lathrop.
The opening of the bridge marks the first new crossing of the San Joaquin River in San Joaquin County since Interstate 5 was built in the 1960s.
Bridges over the San Joaquin River at Lathrop have a long and storied history. While the golden spike for the transcontinental railroad was hammered into the ground by Leland Stanford in Utah in May of 1869, the bridge at Mossdale Crossing wasn’t completed until September making it the last link from San Francisco to the East Coast to be put in place.
And although Manthey Road — the old Highway 50 bridge across the river — has served as a not-to-direct connection between River Islands and the rest of the City of Lathrop, the opening of Bradshaw Crossing will tie the city together much more effectively.
Tying Lathrop together was what Mike Bradshaw pushed for while he was living. He was worried that Lathrop could turn into two separate communities as “new” Lathrop started building west of Interstate 5. River Islands Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso not only admired Bradshaw for his efforts to keep Lathrop unified but also understood the planned 11,000-home community split from the rest of Lathrop by the San Joaquin needed to do whatever it could to prevent the city from becoming balkanized by the development emerging south of the river.
At the groundbreaking for the span in 2011, Dell’Osso noted Bradshaw, “built bridges between new and old Lathrop. It was appropriate to name it after Mike Bradshaw.”
The first of two twin 300-foot long bridge decks broke ground in 2011 and was completed more than a year later. It stood like a massive sunshade over the river for nearly five years before work was finished on approaches to connect the road to the bridge deck.
Cambay Group started wok in 2011 to avoid permits they obtain from numerous state and federal agencies from expiring. They also took advantage of lower construction costs due to the recession.
Bradshaw Crossing will serve as the main entrance to River Islands and will first pass through what will be the project’s town square. Each bridge deck will carry two lanes of traffic from the Mossdale Crossing neighborhood into River Islands at Lathrop. It will extend River Islands Parkway across the river. Ultimately you will be able to take Louise Avenue where it starts east of Manteca at North Murphy Road all the way to a point west of Tracy. It effectively will be a surface bypass to Interstate 205.
The $17 million bridge was funded in its entirety by Cambay Group. They are the developers of the 4,800-acre planned community that included 11,000 homes.
River Islands is a project that is now 28 years in the making. It originally started out as Gold Rush City. It became known as River Islands in 2001 when Cambay bought all 4,800 acres.
Cambay Group’s long-term commitment is almost legendary. Their San Ramon project of 10,000 homes on 5,000 acres took 17 years from the time of inception to the first home being built.
The England-based firm invest more than $180 million to secure everything from sewer and water to the strongest river flood protection in California with the creation of 300-foot wide levees. They have even put in place the Lathrop Irrigation District that will provide power to residents and businesses at a targeted 25 percent below PG&E rates.
They did not start building homes until two years ago after the housing market picked up.
Originally approval plans called for the closure of Manthey Road access to River Islands via Interstate 5 by the time the 800th home was built
Caltrans, in working with River Islands, has since determined the Manthey Road access can stay in place longer due to current traffic conditions especially since almost all of the merge traffic stays in right hand lanes either to head toward Tracy and the Bay Area or the 120 Bypass.
River Islands has secured permits for a second bridge connecting the planned community with the Mossdale Crossing neighborhood north of the river. That bridge will connect to River Island’s planned town square via Golden Valley Parkway that runs just west of the Target store and intersects with Louise Avenue.
River Islands is also hoping to secure an Altamont Corridor Express station on the railroad line that passes right by the project’s planned employment center.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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