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West Ventura County Focus

FILLMORE : Bridging a Gap in Commuter Convenience

November 09, 1994|IRA E. STOLL

A new concrete bridge with wider lanes, shoulders and a sidewalk was open for traffic south of Fillmore on Tuesday, replacing a narrow, 65-year-old steel landmark that in its day claimed more than a few side-view mirrors.

Fillmore Mayor Pro Tem Roger Campbell said local residents were happy to see the opening of the new bridge, which carries traffic on California 23 over the Santa Clara River.

"The old bridge, while it is picturesque, was way too narrow for modern vehicles," Campbell said.

Campbell said some drivers stopped to make sure no one was coming in the other direction before they dared to dart across the old bridge. Others lost side-view mirrors in minor scrapes while trying to squeeze through, he said.

One impatient elderly woman reportedly had a habit of barreling through the center of the old bridge, her tires straddling the double yellow line. Locals knew to watch out for her, Campbell said, but her vehicle once collided head-on with that of some out-of-town visitors. No one was injured in the crash, Campbell said.

Construction on the new bridge began in March, 1993, Caltrans spokeswoman Pat Reid said. The entire project, including demolition of the old bridge, will conclude in April, and cost $6 million, Reid said.

The new bridge was open Tuesday only to southbound traffic. Officials said it should be open completely for a ribbon-cutting ceremony inaugurating the new bridge on Tuesday. Reid said the event will include speeches by local politicians and a parade of antique cars.

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