No doubt to the excitement and/or relief of Moraga residents and their Canyon neighbors, the temporary one-lane Canyon Road Bridge is scheduled to open 11/22 at 3pm, Town officials announced just over an hour ago.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned, this time likely with less “stink eye” from residents since the bridge was completed in a reasonably timely fashion, and the fact that the last-minute announcement precludes enough time for people to get riled up (we aren’t suggesting that’s by design, though if it is: good move).
Though we’re loathe to rain on this parade, wise residents ought to consider:
A permanent two-lane bridge (with bike lanes and pedestrian lanes) was approved and funded back in 2013 (link), with completion slated for 2016 (link). Obviously, that never quite came to fruition, and the Town's press release for the ribbon cutting ceremony now indicates the re-revised anticipated completion date of the permanent bridge has been moved back, again, to 2019 (link). What happened?
The temporary, one-lane bridge cost $1,234,388 more than the town engineer's estimate (link), representing a 60% overrun. Why?
Notwithstanding contentions and political spin that the Canyon Bridge (and previous Rheem sinkhole) are causes of the declaration of fiscal emergency, the federal government is reimbursing the Town almost 90% of costs for each. Thus, the net cost to the town for both "catastrophes" will be around $650k-$700k, hardly an amount worthy of declaring a fiscal emergency, especially in the context of other spending on items such as Hacienda studies and roundabouts which alone have far exceeded the net cost of the bridge and sinkhole. More on this in the coming weeks.
update: no spin or deflection occured at the ribbon cutting
2013 funding approval: here
2016 estimated completion date, as of Jan 2015: here
Town press release on opening and 2019 delay: here