The new 7th Street Bridge will reopen today after a year of construction work, marking the first major milestone in the nearly four-year .
The reopening also signals a new phase in the project that is going to have a far greater impact on the Seal Beach-Los Alamitos area than any of the work to date. Once the, 7th Street Bridge and Valley View Street overpass are completed, work on the Seal Beach Boulevard overpass will begin. The year-and-a-half long project, will involved tearing down and widening the bridge, reducing it to two lanes during construction. During that time, there will also be major closures on the San Diego (405), San Gabriel (605) and Garden Grove (22) freeway connectors.
Until the major closures begin this summer, drivers will experience some relief starting at 5 a.m. Saturday when the 7th Street Bridge reopens, connecting Seal Beach and Long Beach. Roughly 30,000 drivers cross the bridge every day, said Joel Zlotnik, spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority. Closed since April 18 of last year, it had to be torn down so that it could be widened to make room for the 405 expansion project.
“The 7th Street closure was very hard on people. It was difficult at first, but people were able to adjust,” said Zlotnik said.
Almost halfway through the West County Connector Project, residents, businesses and commuters have grown used to the detours signs, freeway closures and bottlenecks on surrounding surface streets. However, the last half of the project will hardest hit Seal Beach and Rossmoor. Not only will portions of Seal Beach Boulevard be closed for the better part of two years, but local freeway closures will also ramp up.
In the coming months:
- There will be a 12-day closure of the southbound 605 and southbound 405 connector.
- The northbound 405 and northbound 605 connector will close for 55-hours over three weekends in the late summer or early fall.
- There will be a 10-month closure of the eastbound 22 and northbound 405 connector beginning in July.
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