Work began Tuesday on a $5.4-million bridge over the Santa Clara River that Los Angeles County and Santa Clarita planners say is vital to relieving congestion in the rapidly growing city.
The Whites Canyon Bridge is the first part of a 3-phase project to turn Whites Canyon Road into a major north-south artery connecting Bouquet Canyon Road with the Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. At present, driving from Bouquet Canyon Road to the Sierra Highway requires a roundabout trip through central Santa Clarita.
Surveying crews from PKB Construction of Arcadia set up their instruments Tuesday morning just south of where Whites Canyon Road comes to a dead end a few dozen yards south of Soledad Canyon Road. The bridge project would extend Whites Canyon Road 1,400 feet south until it crosses the Santa Clara River, said Jean Granucci, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Public Works.
The 608-foot bridge should be completed by September, Granucci said.
Once finished, however, the bridge also will come to a dead end. The second phase of the project calls for the bridge to be joined with Via Princessa and thus connect Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway.
Granucci said the second phase will cost at least $14.5 million. Work could begin next fall and will take at least 18 months, she said.
The bridge and roadwork will be funded with taxes raised through assessment districts created by the county and Santa Clarita. Existing houses will not be included in the districts.
In addition, Shapell-Monteverde, a developer, has agreed to pay $1 million to build the bridge so that it can receive county approval of a 2,500-unit housing development in Canyon Country. The Regional Planning Commission approved the development, but the proposal must go before the Board of Supervisors.
The final phase of the project will extend the northern end of Whites Canyon Road, which also comes to a dead end, north to Plum Canyon Road. This final connection will establish the link between Bouquet Canyon Road and Sierra Highway.