New bridge on Hwy 269 to make roadway safer for drivers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cars zipped down the newly finished bridge that sits over the Arroyo Pasajero Creek.

Officials are calling it the Heart of the Valley Bridge to honor those who died during flooding in 1995.

Family members explained that their loved ones were on I-5 taking an alternate route because Highway 269 always flooded. However, that bridge also gave out killing their loved one.

For family members of the victims, many were filled with mixed emotions.

"I keep looking around, hoping my daughter is going to appear or something. Then I feel happy for the bridge," said Consuelo Rodriguez.

A 17-year-old named Linda, and her best friend Martha, died during the flooding.

"It's a pain that will never heal," said Myra Zavala, Martha's sister. "It's just something you get used to."

For years the road continued to be a dangerous problem, but leaders worked to get the funding to raise two miles of Highway 269 15 feet. The project cost around $30 million.

"It took a long time, but I'm really glad it finally got done, and my sister's memory and victims that past on March 10 are being remembered," said Thelma Lara Urbina.

While families try to heal each day, they take comfort in knowing the road will no longer be a problem.

Now people who live in the area will be able to drive without hesitation when it rains.

Caltrans will announce when the roadway will officially open.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.