New Palm Crest bridge rises

The old timber bridge is gone, and a new concrete span is taking shape on Jessen Drive, just above Palm Crest Elementary School.

The new bridge replaces a 1930s-era span at the foot of Earl Canyon that failed to meet Caltrans safety standards. City officials have said they expect the project to cost about $1.6 million, with most of the cost covered by the federal government.

Ying Kwan, the city’s engineer, said the new bridge will be able to handle vehicles of any weight, unlike its predecessor or another existing city bridge on Berkshire Avenue. Kwan said officials are hoping to wrap up work by Aug. 28, the first day of school. “Some unforeseen weather in April and May pushed us back, but that remains our goal,” Kwan said.

The student drop-off and pick-up plan Palm Crest instituted in the spring seemed to work well, Kwan said, and the plan might be back in place for a short period in the fall. He also said that if bridge work is nearly complete, crews can open the bridge to traffic at the beginning and end of the school day to ease the rush.

Earlier this month the city coordinated with Southern California Edison to cut electricity to nearby power lines while concrete girders were lifted on to the span. The work temporarily required cutting power to five homes, Kwan said, but went smoothly.

-- Bill Kisliuk, Times Community News

Twitter: @bkisliuk

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