Traffic is once again flowing on the Tuolumne Bridge. After more than a year and a half of construction the overpass, that extends from Broadway to F Street in Downtown Fresno, finally opened Friday morning with a ribbon cutting event, complete with police motorcade and vintage car procession.
"This bridge helps open up Chinatown and West Fresno, not only for the residents in those areas this direction, but our businesses in that direction," said Tom Richards, HSR Board of Directors Vice Chairman.
The new structure replaces the old one-way bridge that was demolished in early 2016, because it did not have enough clearance to support High-Speed Rail. That's no longer an issue; the overpass will now carry drivers in both directions over the future bullet train line with plenty of room to spare.
"Usually, when you have one-way outlets you go around in circles, here now they have a two way street directly into Downtown. So I think it's going to be easier access for anybody wanting to come to Downtown," HSR Central Regional Director Diana Gomez said.
Mayor Lee Brand was among the first to ride along the new bridge. He said the $500-million effort by the High Speed Rail Authority to improve the Downtown infrastructure is the perfect catalyst to revitalize the area.
"I think you come here five years from now and you won't recognize Downtown; totally transformed, vibrant, a lot of people going on."
Tulare Street in Chinatown will soon be shutdown to make way for High Speed Rail. Also, the Stanislaus Bridge is set for demolition sometime next year.
Ribbon cutting held to reopen Tuolumne Bridge to traffic