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Lathrop replacing Manthey Road bridge
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LATHROP – That rickety old bridge on Manthey Road that crosses the San Joaquin River will soon be getting a major upgrade.

A total replacement actually.

On Monday the Lathrop City Council will decide whether to execute a contract with the international firm of Parsons Brinckerhoff for the preliminary engineering and environmental services work for the replacement of the 88-year-old river crossing. The contract, which would be for $1,411,350, would jumpstart the project that will be paid for almost exclusively through the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Bridge Program.

According to the staff report, 88.53 percent of the cost of the project is being funded through the federal program. The rest will be paid for through a variety of development fees and other local funds.

Lathrop applied for and was granted $4.5 million in 2012 to move forward with the early engineering and environmental design for the bridge. It was designated by the Caltrans as requiring rehabilitation or replacement for public safety reasons. The cost for the preliminary work was already budgeted.

While it will be some time before the construction actually begins, the replacement bridge will be a major upgrade from the relatively bare-bones structure that is in place today.

Plans currently call for sidewalks and bike lanes to be included in the project. It would provide better access for pedestrian crossing over the river – which separates Lathrop’s two largest development areas.

And bridges over the San Joaquin River have a long and storied history in Lathrop. While the golden spike for the transcontinental railroad was actually hammered into the ground by Leland Stanford in Utah in May of 1869, the bridge at Mossdale Crossing wasn’t completed until September. That made it the last segment to connect the West Coast of the United States with the existing Eastern rail network that terminated at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

That bridge has since been replaced. It is still in operation as a working train crossing today.

The Manthey Road bridge that would be replaced runs adjacent to the I-5 crossing located just east of it. It is 539-feet long and is located three-tenths-of-a-mile from Stewart Road.

In March of 2013 the city received the green light from Caltrans to move forward with the preliminary aspects of the project. Whether the bridge would require new or additional pilings will likely determine how long it will take before all necessary permits can be issued. River Islands built its own bridge over the river, and more than a dozen regulatory agencies had to sign-off before construction could begin.