Way Cleared for New Bridge Over Rio Hondo

In a move that clears the way for construction of a $7.5-million bridge, the City Council has earmarked $600,000 to replace the Beverly Boulevard crossing of the Rio Hondo.

The council's decision ends years of badgering by officials from neighboring Montebello, which asked for a contribution to rebuild the 70-year-old timber road link between the two cities, said Montebello City Engineer Richard Chen.

"These funds were the last hurdle for a long-awaited new bridge," said Pico Rivera Mayor Garth Gardner.

About six years ago, Montebello won $6 million in federal funds to replace the bridge after a study by the Los Angeles County public works division deemed the bridge unsafe and recommended replacement, Chen said.

Since then, Montebello officials had tried to get a guarantee from Pico Rivera to help meet the $1.5-million price tag to complete the project, he said. But Pico Rivera had already planned more critically needed transportation projects, said city spokeswoman Vivien Hao.

About 39,000 motorists cross the bridge daily, Chen said.

County engineers can now begin designing the project. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2000.

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