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New noise for bridge project

Officials celebrate finish of Glendale's largest public works project.

September 08, 2010|By Melanie Hicken
(Tim Berger )

The massive $44-million Fairmont Avenue bridge, which for years created a construction mess at the San Fernando Road interchange, was christened on Wednesday.

The largest public works project in city history extends Fairmont Avenue over San Fernando Road, the railroad tracks and into the city's redevelopment area, home to major offices for DreamWorks Animation, the Walt Disney Co. and KABC7.

A major component of an overhaul to the northern portion of the city’s industrial corridor, the mostly state funded bridge was required under a development agreement with the studios to improve traffic flow and access to the area.

“We’re hoping this bridge will lead the creative minds of Southern California onward and upward,” Mayor Ara Najarian said to a crowd of city, state and elected officials and residents gathered at the base of the bridge.

City officials lauded the completion of the bridge, which was more than a decade in the making.

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“When this bridge was being talked about in its infancy, no one thought it would happen,” said former Glendale Mayor Larry Zarian, who as a state transportation commissioner helped iron out funding issues.

For nearby Pelanconi Estates residents, the ceremony marked the end of years of construction noise, dirt and traffic detours.

“We are so happy to see this dedication happen after almost two and a half years of construction,” said Patrick Masihi, president of the Pelanoni Estates Homeowners Assn. “We have suffered a great deal.”

Residents were long opposed to the project, but some of the loudest complaints came when residents were notified of 13 nights of construction, which city officials said were required to allow crews to build the bridge over the railroad tracks.

The City Council even voted last year to authorize a $130-rebate for residents to cover the cost of dealing with nighttime noise, which City Manager Jim Starbird at the time warned could set a dangerous precedent for future construction projects.

With the bridge set to begin use this month, residents praised the completed sound wall barrier, which they lobbied for to block the noise from slowing vehicles coming off the freeway.

“We fought really hard for that sound wall,” said resident Judy Taylor, who lives across the wash from the bridge.

The ceremony ended with a procession of officials in luxury convertibles followed by the Glendale High School marching band to christen the bridge.

Public works officials said the bridge was scheduled to open to traffic sometime by Sept. 20 as they work with the California Department of Transportation to finalize last-minute details.

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