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Bridges going in three years ahead of roads
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• Number of homes: 11,000
• Job potential: 16,800
• Acres involved: 4,800
• Enhanced eco-systems being created for Riparian rabbit, Swainson’s hawk
• Eight major public river access points with “bays” that will have peninsulas with enhanced natural landscaping.

LATHROP — Bradshaw Crossing - named in honor of a man who helped figuratively build bridges between east and west Lathrop – is breaking ground in the next two weeks.

The twin 300-foot-long bridge decks across the San Joaquin River will each eventually carry two lanes of traffic from the Mossdale Crossing neighborhood into the future heart of 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 is being funded in its entirety by Cambay Group. They are the developers of the 4,800-acre planned community of River Islands that includes 11,000 homes.

“It was appropriate to name it after Mike Bradshaw,” said River Islands project manager Susan Dell’Osso.

She said Bradshaw made it a point to make sure the new part of Lathrop west of Interstate 5 ties with the older section on the east side.

“He built bridges between new and old Lathrop,” Dell’Osso said.

Bradshaw passed away several years ago.

The bridge won’t likely carry traffic for at least three years after it is built. There won’t be a roadway connecting it on either side during that time nor will the dirt embankment be built up for the approach roads. It will in the interim look like a pair of giant canopies across the river. There will be a 10-foot drop-off at the bridge deck’s end until such time the approach roads are built.

River Islands is a project that is now 22 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 past decade has seen 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 future residents and businesses 25 percent below PG&E rates. What is stopping them is the market. Or, more precisely, it is a desire to protect their investment by not diluting its value.

“We have great confidence in the market,” Dell’Osso said. “The economy will turn around. And when it does we’ll be ready.”