FORT BRAGG, 7/10/23 — The Pudding Creek Bridge at the north end of Fort Bragg won’t close overnight this week as scheduled, thanks to innovations by contractor MCM Constructors, said Manny Machado, spokesman for Caltrans. The bridge has been subjected to traffic control since March, with a light installed last month. Caltrans had planned to close the bridge entirely, cutting off Highway 1 at the north end of Fort Bragg for ten nights during the bridge renovations.
“The contractor was able to relocate the sanitary sewer force main line last week, and the full nighttime closure originally planned for this week [July 12-14] is not needed,” Machado said. The schedule called for removing and replacing the sewer main line, but the contractor managed to do the job without a closure.
The full closures on Route 1 at the north end of Fort Bragg at the Pudding Creek Bridge has been reduced from 10 to 4 evenings. Originally scheduled to begin this week, the first full nighttime closure is July 18 from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.— Caltrans District 1 (@CaltransDist1) July 10, 2023
• 2 Night July 18–20
• 2 Nights Sep 13–15 pic.twitter.com/y9MjOlGPKk
And there is more good news. The 10 nights of full closure have been whittled down to four nights.
Machado identified four nights of closures ahead. “The contractor will also install the water line without implementing the full lane closure planned for September 23-25. We’ve reduced the full closures from ten to four nights. On those four nights, the full lane closures are still planned for 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and are July 18-19 and July 19-20 and also Sept 13-14 and Sept 14-15.”
During those four nights, Caltrans has not made a decision yet about emergency and other access. Some suggested a shuttle, but that won’t happen, Machado said.
“There will not be shuttles. However something is in the works for hospital non-emergency staff,” Machado said.
Most people are finding the permanent use of the traffic light to be far less problematic than originally feared. This reporter contacted five people who drive the bridge regularly. They all expected conditions to worsen with 24 hour use of only one lane. They (and this reporter) found the opposite to be true. Even on the long 4th of July weekend, the closures did not result in longer lines. Prior to the light being installed, the bridge had been closed periodically since March by flaggers. That was worse for traffic, the drivers agreed. Some had been aggravated by the “let’s wait and see” presentation Caltrans made prior to the light being installed. But they now agree the traffic engineers seem to have gotten it right, at least so far.
In other Caltrans news from this project, there is a new project manager. “Katie Everett is serving as the project manager while Caren Coonrod is away. People can direct their comments to Everett or myself,” Machado said.
Machado can be reached at 707-496-6879. Everett can be reached at [email protected].
See our previous coverage here:
And learn more about the project from Caltrans here.