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Road-building roadblocks

Posted: August 31, 2008 8:08 p.m.
Updated: November 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The city of Santa Clarita cleared a major roadblock in finishing a roadway that will give drivers a straight shot from the east side of the valley to the west, a city official said Friday.

After a lengthy five-year environmental review, the state of California approved the environmental review of the final bridge of the cross-valley connector, city Public Works Director Robert Newman said.

The 1,100-foot bridge over the Santa Clara River is the missing link in a road that could stretch more than eight miles from Golden Valley Road in Canyon Country to Highway 126 in Valencia.

The city hopes to break ground in December and construction is expected to take a year, Newman said.
City officials see the cross-valley connector as a large artery in a city roadmap strained more every day by climbing population numbers.

City officials expected it could take five years to get environmental approval and they were correct, Newman said.

"We're within the timeline we expected but it was a long timeline," he said.

The next step is to get the funding from the state, which Newman expects in about three months.

"Now that hurdle is crossed and the next one is to go out to bid," said Councilwoman Marsha McLean.

The city hopes the $245 million cross-valley connector will help ease the tension of drivers who are sick of relying on either the two freeways or side streets to get from one side of town to the other.

The cross-valley connector could help relieve congestion at one of the city's busiest intersections - where Bouquet Canyon Road meets Soledad Canyon Road near the future cross-valley connector bridge.

"We're constantly trying to help solve our transportation issues and this is just one more step in that process," McLean said. "It's going to be a big day when the cross valley connector is completed."

The first portion of the connector was the six-lane Golden Valley Road that extends from Highway 14 to Soledad Canyon Road. That section opened in 2002.

In the spring of 2007, the city extended Newhall Ranch Road west to connect with Highway 126. The 1.6-mile extension gives drivers a direct eight-lane route from the Saugus area to Highway 126.

The city still needs about $6 million to pay for the $27-million bridge but Newman expects the majority to be paid by Newhall Land and Farming Co. as part of its developer impact fees.

The remaining portion of the $6 million needed will likely come from city, county and federal funds, Newman said.


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