The 1948 La Fonda Bridge, which crosses over Highway 1 in Santa Cruz, will be demolished in two phases starting Monday at midnight and will affect traffic flow. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula).
SANTA CRUZ — Anyone driving Highway 1 through Santa Cruz Monday and Tuesday nights (and the following Monday and Tuesday nights) can expect detours as they approach the Morrissey area. That’s because construction crews will be demolishing the 1948 La Fonda Avenue Bridge as part of the Soquel/Morrissey Auxiliary Lanes Project.
The bridge removal schedule is:
• On Monday and Tuesday, all southbound Highway 1 lanes will be closed from midnight to 5 a.m.
• On August 13 and 14, all northbound Highway 1 lanes will be closed from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. for both nights.
• The La Fonda Bridge will be closed to cross traffic for 6-8 months beginning Monday.
While the highway is closed to remove the bridge for the dates noted above, at least one lane on the highway in the opposite direction will remain open.
During the night closure of the highway sections traffic will be detoured at Morrissey and Soquel, respectively.
The detours are:
• For southbound traffic take the Morrissey exit, turn right on Morrissey and left on Soquel Avenue.
• For northbound traffic exit at Soquel Drive, turn left on Soquel and right on Morrissey Boulevard.
Alternate routes are limited. Officials advise the public to reduce auto travel as much as possible and allow additional travel time.
The middle pier of the La Fonda Bridge will remain in place until early October when the retaining walls and new bridge abutments are completed on each side of the highway and travel lanes can be moved over to allow work to occur in the center median area.
Efforts to widen a one-mile stretch of Highway 1, ease the flow of traffic and adjust for an increasing population were launched in 1986 when the Regional Transportation Commission worked with the California Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a series of studies of the highway.
The studies resulted in a series of proposed projects, the first of which was work on the Highway 1 High Occupancy Lanes Project in 2003.
The Soquel/Morrissey Auxiliary Lanes project was approved by the RTC in June 2011, and was kicked off in January.
Speeds on the highway through the project area are now reduced to 55 MPH, with traffic fines doubled in the construction zone.
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