Work continues on the Benson Avenue bridge

Work continues on the Benson Avenue bridge over the 60 Freeway, in this photo, looking south towards Walnut Avenue. The northbound side of the bridge has been demolished and the southside will be demolished in the future. The bridge will be elevated when it is rebuilt to accommodate high-profile vehicles on the freeway.

Caltrans’ project to elevate the Benson Avenue bridge that crosses over the 60 Freeway is moving right along, but two other crossings in the “Three Bridges” project have hit snags.

The bridge on Benson and bridges crossing the freeway on Monte Vista and Pipeline avenues are slated for total demolition and will be rebuilt higher to accommodate high profile vehicles on the freeway. 

The three bridges are part of the original construction for the 60 Freeway that opened in the Chino Valley area in 1970.

Benson bridge

The southbound lane of the Benson Avenue bridge was demolished late last year, and that section is being rebuilt to the higher standard. The contractor is currently installing "cast in drilled holes" piles in the median. That work will continue through the end of this week. 

Once the piles are installed, that half of the bridge will be rebuilt, with completion expected in four to five months.

Once the southbound lane is rebuilt, the northbound lane will be demolished and rebuilt. 

At this time, both southbound and northbound traffic is using the northbound side of the bridge.

SoCalGas – a partner in the “Three Bridges” project – will begin replacing a gas pipeline under the Benson Avenue bridge on Monday, Feb. 3. That work is expected to continue through June 15. Work hours are planned for 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Daniela Thurman, outreach project manager for SoCalGas sent a letter Jan. 9, informing nearby residents of the impending work. In it, Ms. Thurman said the project may require a controlled release of natural gas. Residents are being advised to call SoCalGas if they have any concerns at (800) 427-2200, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Ms. Thurman also said that residents’ natural gas service should continue without interruption. “If that changes, a SoCalGas representative will notify you,” she said in the letter.

The pipeline replacement is not expected to affect the work schedule for the Benson bridge, said Kimberly Cherry, a Caltrans spokeswoman.

Pipeline bridge

Work to demolish one side of the Pipeline Avenue bridge halted in mid-December when asbestos was found. Caltrans is awaiting approval from the Air Quality Management District on the transportation agency’s plan to deal with the asbestos, which is composed of long, thin fibrous crystals that, when inhaled, can aggravate lung tissues, causing serious chronic respiratory disease.

Monte Vista bridge

Work on the Monte Vista Avenue bridge is not expected to begin for approximately one year, Ms. Cherry said.

It is expected to take six months to complete the work on each half on each of the three bridges, Ms. Cherry said.

The bridge projects are part of Caltrans’ “60 Swarm” that includes pavement rehabilitation on the 60 Freeway from Euclid Avenue in Ontario/Chino to the 60/91/215 interchange in Riverside. 

Specific details of the “60 Swarm” were explained to Chino Valley residents last May.

Work on the $23 million bridges project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, Caltrans officials said in May.

Central bridge

Work is expected to begin in July and be completed in November 2021 on a totally separate project to widen the Central Avenue bridge across the 60 Freeway. That project, under the lead of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), will provide three lanes in each direction across the bridge, as well as two left turn lanes in each direction and room for sidewalks and bike lanes. 

Eastbound and westbound entrance ramps will be widened to accommodate two general purpose lanes and one high-occupancy vehicle bypass lane.

A new design for the bridge, facing freeway drivers, will include the city of Chino’s logo and designs depicting a sunset and farm fields in a nod to Chino’s rural heritage. Streetlights with vintage-style acorn-shaped globes will be installed along the bridge. 

Landscaping along the freeway ramps will also be replaced.

The $31.7 million cost of the project is being shared by SBCTA and the city of Chino. Chino’s portion of the project is $18.9 million, but it will be defrayed by $1.4 million from San Bernardino County and $113,216 from the city of Montclair since drivers from both of those areas benefit from the bridge.

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