City officials have reopened the Pelandale Avenue bridge spanning Highway 99 in north Modesto and a nearby stretch of Salida Boulevard after closing them for more than a week because a water main had failed and washed away dirt under the road.
Public Works Director Bill Sandhu said in an email that workers had completed repairs Saturday night and the bridge and boulevard had reopened.
“Thanks to our dedicated staff and contractors for their tremendous effort to complete repairs ahead of schedule,” Sandhu wrote. He had estimated the repairs would take two weeks.
The city had advised drivers to avoid the Pelandale interchange and use nearby routes. The closure did not help the flow of cars and trucks on the highway.
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“It was really impacting the traffic on the highway,” Sandhu said in an interview. “I’m glad it reopened.”
The bridge was not affected by the broken water main.
Modesto is building a new $55 million interchange at Highway 99, which includes the bridge. Workers demolished the old bridge over the summer, and motorists have been using the new one as work continues on the interchange.
The city closed the bridge and a few hundred feet of the boulevard March 4 after an approximately 150-foot section of water main under the boulevard failed, releasing torrents of water and dirt under the road. Sandhu warned then that the roadway could be unsafe for cars and trucks coming off the bridge or entering the bridge from the boulevard.
Sandhu said Sunday that workers replaced about 100 feet of Salida Boulevard.
Two Salida Boulevard businesses Sunday welcomed the reopening: the Arco gas station just north of the bridge and the Baymont Inn & Suites just south of it.
“It’s been super slow because of that,” said Jag Singh, cashier at the AM-PM mini-mart, about effects of the closure.
Even though the bridge was closed, construction workers allowed Baymont customers to drive across the bridge and then turn onto Salida Boulevard to reach the hotel, but front-desk agent Maria Sanchez said despite that accommodation business was down.
“With the roads being closed,” she said, “it was affecting our business.”
Sandhu has said the problem was caused when an older water main that was to be replaced failed. Work on the new water main had not yet been completed. The Baymont Inn & Suites was the only customer to lose water service; workers restored it in about an hour.
Work on the new interchange is expected to be completed by the end of the year. It will have twice the capacity of the old interchange, which opened in 1970 when Modesto’s population was about a third of what it is today.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316