With a flourish of congratulations and a passing swipe at no-growth advocates, officials from Orange County, the Santa Margarita Co. and other South County agencies opened construction on a Trabuco Arroyo bridge expansion Thursday.
The new bridge will be next to an existing span on Santa Margarita Parkway, expanding it from four to six lanes and increasing access to thousands of homes that sit across the arroyo from Mission Viejo. With an estimated price tag of $7.5 million, the bridge is being financed out of the Foothill Circulation Phasing Plan, and it marks the latest construction project to be undertaken as part of that ambitious road construction program.
Anthony R. Moiso, president of the Santa Margarita Co., proudly kicked off the project Thursday and said he expects it to be complete within about 15 months. The bridge and other parts of the $250-million phasing plan will demonstrate "to the public, to the nay-saying, no-growth public" that traffic in booming South County can be accommodated by developers, Moiso told a gathering of several dozen people.
Construction costs for the bridge include about $1 million in environmental mitigation, which will include moving some trees to save them.
Moreover, with Oakland's Nimitz Freeway in a shambles, Orange County officials hastened to assure residents that the expanded structure will be up to snuff on earthquake standards.
"I've been assured all current seismological and technological requirements are met," County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez said.