MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Caltrans has started work on a construction project on Highway 99 that could delay your commute.
This bridge is a priority for Caltrans to replace. The 36-million-dollar project started late Sunday night, and it's expected to continue over the next two years.
It's underway to replace the Cottonwood Creek Bridge along the southbound lanes near Avenue 12 in Madera County.
"There are some safety issues with it. We still have time to get it done so we wanted to do the project now. So, we're replacing the bridge both northbound and southbound," Caltrans spokesperson Larry Johnson said.
Johnson added once the bridge is done, there will be an extra lane for drivers.
Drivers heading southbound on Highway 99 will be directed to get off on Avenue 12, then get back on the highway using the eastbound on-ramp.
Aerial footage from Sky View 30 shows the stretch of Highway 99 that will be replaced. But the view below the bridge also provides perspective.
The bridge's pillars can be seen slowly deteriorating.
Caltrans says it will do the replacement work in sections.
The project is expected to take over two years to complete.
Bonnie Ruz has lived in Madera for about four years now.
She says she takes back roads to avoid the freeway.
This new construction has Rocio Villegas worried about her commute to Fresno for work.
"Now I have to go all through around town, just to get on Highway 99 to head south. It's easier coming through the back roads, pumping gas, and then hopping on the highway," Villegas said.
The replacement of the bridge does bring Villegas peace when it comes to safety
But she's concerned about how this may impact business and traffic.
Caltrans says this project will repair pavement to prevent more costly maintenance projects in the future.
You're asked to take it slow in the area for merging traffic and look out for crews at work.
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