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Thursday, Jul 18 2013 12:49 PM

Bridge work resumes at Sand Canyon

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Work on the Sand Canyon bridge restarted Thursday, July 18, after a month-long hiatus. Officials estimate the project will still finish by the end of the year. Emily Brunett / Tehachapi News

Construction crews resumed work on the Highway 58 Sand Canyon westbound bridge Thursday, July 18 after the discovery of asbestos halted progress for about a month.

Ryan Rush, field representative for Kern County 2nd District Supervisor Zach Scrivner, reported the asbestos find at a Tehachapi economic development meeting on July 3. Rush said no timeline was in place for completion of the enviornmental work or bridge construction.

Since Rush's report, CalTrans official Jose Camarena said Monday, July 15 that the environmental tests had been completed -- with no worrying impacts found -- and construction would resume within the week.

"Hazmat evaluation crews found [asbestos] levels didn't pose any specific danger," Camarena said in the phone interview.

Camarena said CalTrans still expects work on the westbound bridge to be completed by the original finish date of mid-December.

In the meantime, Highway 58 traffic is merged into a single lane and diverted around the demolished bridge through the off and on-ramps. Those needing access to the Sand Canyon portion of West Tehachapi Boulevard and Sand Canyon road must drive to the next exit -- 5 miles further -- and backtrack to reach their destination.

But construction to the Sand Canyon area will not end with the westbound bridge.

"The eastbound bridge is scheduled for reconstruction, as well, but the project has not been funded yet," Camarena said. "We hope to start on it in the spring of 2014."

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