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Work starts in 2011 for 2 bridges over SJ River
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LATHROP - One of the biggest public works projects in the South County in 2011won’t be undertaken or funded by any city.

It’s a $17 million venture by Cambay Group to construct twin two-lane bridges across the San Joaquin River as part of the main entrance boulevard for the 10,800-home River Islands at Lathrop project.

Work is expected to start in April some four months in advance of when a series of tough-to-obtain permits from state and federal agencies dealing with rivers and navigable waters are set to expire.

Although Cambay Group doesn’t expect to see housing construction start any earlier than 2012, they are going ahead out of concern that they may not be able to obtain permits again or at least in a timely manner. They also are being motivated by significantly lower construction costs due to the current economy.

The pair of 300-foot-long bridge decks will likely stand completed for at least three years without being used. 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.

The bridge, which will carry future River Islands Parkway traffic, will connect Mossdale Crossing and Old Town Lathrop to River Islands.

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 privately held England-based firm has invested more than $200 million so far in River Islands. That includes everything from the West Coast’s first 300-foot wide levees that are rated at 200-year flood protection for the 4,800-acre project to securing an adequate water supply, creating a manmade lake, and conducting development studies as required by law.