Carpenter Road bridge reopened; water line fixed

kvaline@modbee.comJanuary 4, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate text Kevin Valine
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: City of Modesto and nonprofits
    Bio: Kevin Valine has been a copy editor and reporter at The Bee since January 2006. He's worked at the Reno Gazette-Journal, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune and Paradise Post as a reporter and copy editor. He's a graduate of San Jose State.
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    E-mail: kvaline@modbee.com

— The Carpenter Road bridge — which serves as a main connector between Modesto and western Stanislaus County — has reopened after a broken water line washed out the soil under one end of the span early Tuesday.

Crews finished the repairs about 7 p.m. Friday.

The joint that connects two sections of the water line on the bridge's north side failed, causing the sections of pipe to come apart.

About 1.3 million gallons of water escaped and washed out the soil under several feet of Carpenter Road's northbound lane by the north side of the bridge. The water also washed out soil along a nearby abutment.

Some 19,035 cars and trucks cross the 53-year-old, two-lane bridge on a typical day. Motorists had to use alternate routes until the bridge was fixed.

The water line broke while the bridge is undergoing a $10.8 million upgrade. The contractor, Benicia-based Flatiron West, started work last year.

The project includes making the bridge better able to withstand an earthquake as well as widening it from 34 feet to 69 feet. The bridge will remain two lanes, but it will have 12-foot-wide walkways on each side. Concrete barriers will separate walkers and bicyclists from traffic.

City officials are looking into what caused the joint to fail, said Gregg Halladay, Modesto's deputy director of utility planning and projects.

The city also is determining how Tuesday's incident will impact the projected June completion date of the bridge upgrade. But Halladay said it's not expected to cause a significant delay.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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