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The northbound approach to the nearly 80-year-old Fine Gold Creek bridge. (Photos by George Lurie)

Road Report: Fine Gold Creek Bridge, Oakhurst ‘Connector’ Projects

MADERA — County officials provided updates this week on two pending, major road construction projects — replacement of the Fine Gold Bridge near North Fork and construction of the new Oakhurst ‘connector’ road between Yosemite High School and Highway 41.

Fine Gold Creek Bridge

Northbound approach to the Fine Gold Creek bridge (George Lurie)

The plan to replace the aging Fine Gold Creek bridge on Road 200 near North Fork is ready to go but is being delayed by “programmed funding” issues, says Madera County Public Works Director Ahmad Alkhayyat.

The $8-million project to replace the nearly 80-year-old bridge — and straighten an adjoining section of Road 200 — may not start any sooner than 2023, according to Alkhayyat.

“Design, permitting and environmental clearances are all complete and the project is essentially shelf-ready.”

But a “majority” of the construction funding, Alkhayyat explains, “is programmed in the Measure T Regional Tier Program for funding in year 2023. However, we are working with Madera County Transportation Commission (MCTC) to look at alternative funding sources that may allow us to expedite construction.”

In addition to the new bridge, the project also includes straightening the sharp bend in Road 200 just south of the bridge, a treacherous, 25-mile-an-hour curve that sees its share of crashes every year.

In 2012, the County completed a major upgrade to Road 200 between Highway 41 and North Fork. That project, which was undertaken in two phases, did not include funding for replacing the aging bridge — or straightening the curve in Road 200.

Oakhurst “connector” road

Meanwhile, construction work had originally been scheduled to begin this summer on a new “connector” road in Oakhurst linking the Yosemite High School area with Highway 41 roughly across from Denny’s.

But the $9 million Oakhurst Midtown Connector project has also hit some speed bumps, according to county officials.

“Design is approximately 60 percent complete [but] during the environmental phase, we had some challenges with Caltrans oversight due to the connection in the state right-of-way on State Route 41,” Alkhayyat says, so the project start date has been moved back one year.

“The target for construction [to begin] is now spring or summer of 2020.”

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in spring or summer 2019.

 

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