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Lathrop ready to start $13M bridge project

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Lathrop ready to start $13M bridge project

Vail Cooper & Associates Construction Manager Rick Kaufman speaks about the Lathrop Road bridge project on Wednesday at the Lathrop Senior Center.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED September 15, 2013 11:10 p.m.

LATHROP – It’s nearly impossible to make it across Lathrop without getting stopped by a train.

But all of that is about to change.

In a week the City of Lathrop is set to break ground on a project that will create a second bridge on Lathrop Road this time crossing the western Union Pacific railroad tracks. It will eliminate the at-grade crossing the same way they did when they built roughly the same project over the eastern UP tracks on Lathrop Road.

Lathrop’s city officials and the construction management team Wednesday night outlined the project for city residents. They showed in detail how they’re going to be able to save both the houses as well as the bar that has long sat on the corner of Lathrop Road and Fifth Street.

Senior Civil Engineer Michael King gave the lion’s share of the presentation focusing on things like the intersection of Lathrop Road and McKinley Avenue and how much space will be between the two bridges once everything is completed.

The best part? Very little local dollars will be required to construct the $13 million bridge. Funding relies mainly on a series of safety grants by the State of California that is making a push for removing at-grade railroad crossings as well as San Joaquin County’s Measure K.

A few facts about the bridge construction include:

•Roughly 22 trains cross Lathrop Road every day, and that means delays for the thousands of cars that use the route as a main thoroughfare.

•The bridge will be 36-feet high, and will use fill-dirt as a run-up to reach that elevation. Bridge pilings will be anchored at the peak to help support the weight of the concrete much the same way the “easterly grade separation” was constructed.

•The fence line and the entrance of Sharpe Army Depot will be impacted by the construction. The city has been working closely with the federal agencies that call those shots to clear any hurdles that might arise.

•Construction crews and planners expect a one-year turnaround once construction actually begins. A push will be made to create significant progress prior to the rainy season.

•The plot of land purchased by the City of Lathrop that will be used as staging area for the dirt piles used in the construction will end up becoming a storm retention basin. That means no more flooding for neighboring homeowners. And once everything is complete, the city will look into planting grass in the new basin the same way they did the storm basin in Woodfield Estates.

The city only needed to buy one house to make the project work. It utilized a unique, back-loop roadway to provide access to the Fireside, as well as some of the houses that will be retained rather than bought out and torn down.

The groundbreaking for the new project will be held on Monday, Sept., 23, near the intersection of Woodfield Drive and Lathrop Road. The event starts at 11 a.m. For additional information, contact the City of Lathrop at (209) 941-7200.

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