The grand opening ceremony for the East Sonora Expressway happened this morning… and was attended by dignitaries and citizens alike.
About 70 people gathered near the center of the 1,000-foot-long Sullivan Creek Bridge on the new Expressway for the ceremonies. Tuolumne County, City of Sonora, and State of California officials made up the bulk of the crowd.
Robert Spradling of CalTrans said the new $70 million bypass will bring the community together. “For the community on the east Sonora side, I think it´s going to maker a dramatic difference in easing the congestion ,” Spradling added.
Even with several construction delays over the span of the project, the expressway is opening on schedule.
The Phase One of the Expressway project has been under construction for nearly three years. Sonora City Councilwoman Liz Bass said this proves Tuolumne County in moving forward. “This to me is a symbol of a more modern way of life, arguably a better way of life from my point of view it is,” Bass said. “It will get people to where they´re going safer.”
And motorcyclists Richard and Patty Rittenhouse were the first motorcyclists to ride their bikes on the new expressway. “It´s going to be a lot safer without all the lights,” Patty said.
The roadway is still not open to the public however. Spradling said workers still need to coordinate traffic signal lights get traffic signs in place.
The opening date has been slated for 6 a.m. Tuesday of next week according to Spradling.