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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Bridge, Interchange Work Completed

May 20, 1999|PAULA PISANI

One year and eight months after work began, Oxnard's Rose Avenue bridge and Ventura Freeway interchange is completed.

And Wednesday, with the new seven-lane bridge serving as a backdrop, city officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in a nearby parking lot to commemorate the project that began in September 1997.

Officials said the $19.2-million project--38% of costs covered by the city and 62% by nearby property owners--will enhance safety, reduce congestion, improve air quality, provide better bike paths and sidewalks on the bridge and make the area more attractive for visitors who want to shop in Oxnard.

The old interchange was not user-friendly, said Robert Sassaman, acting District 7 director for the California Department of Transportation. He said the interchange was hard to merge, stop signs made it confusing for drivers and lanes were too narrow for traffic to travel safely. Mayor Manuel Lopez said he was so excited about the project's completion that he made it a point to drive north and south to try out all the lanes.

"It's one thing to put infrastructure in when the economy is good, but we made this commitment six years ago at the bottom of the economy," Councilman Tom Holden said. "The quality of this project is superior. It's an outstanding accomplishment."

The general contractor for the project is C.A. Rasmussen.

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