City officials broke ground on the new Rose Avenue Bridge on Wednesday, hailing the long-delayed project as a solution to traffic bottlenecks that plague local motorists.
Workers will expand the Rose Avenue Bridge over the Ventura Freeway from two to seven lanes and build new on- and offramps at the freeway. Construction is expected to last about 16 months.
For years, Oxnard officials have heard complaints about the congested bridge, which leads to the busy Shopping at the Rose complex. Haggling among officials and merchants over financing details held up the project before the City Council approved putting the project out for bid in March.
The expansion will cost about $18.4 million. Property owners near the bridge will pay about 62% of the total, with the city paying the other 38%.
"We're excited to begin construction," city planner Cynthia Daniels said. "The city and businesses have been looking forward to this."
About 30 city, school and business leaders turned out for the groundbreaking ceremony.
The bridge will not close during construction, but on- and offramps will be shut down periodically. Motorists can find out about traffic detours by calling 339-1008.