NORTH SHORE – The Riverside County Transportation Department reopened Avenue 70 in the Salton Sea community of North Shore on Thursday after months of road and bridge repairs.

“This is good news that North Shore residents can once again use Avenue 70 to more easily get around,” Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said in a prepared statement. “The reopening of Avenue 70 saves time for residents, who no longer need to take the much longer way around. I am glad that the road is reopened and, importantly, that the bridge is structurally safe. Thank you to the community for their patience during the closure. I appreciate the Coachella Valley Water District, Riverside County Transportation Department and the contractor for their hard work in repairing the bridge.”

Avenue 70, from Cleveland Street to Windward Drive, had been closed to traffic since Sept. 30 of last year. Large storm events in late September and early October severely undermined the Avenue 70 bridge over the Coachella Canal Wasteway No. 1, damaging and washing away roadway and concrete lining. Riverside County and Caltrans structural engineers determined the bridge was salvageable.

The Avenue 70 bridge spans the Coachella Canal Wasteway No. 1, which is operated and maintained by the Coachella Valley Water District. The wasteway channel conveys storm water during peak flooding events.

North Shore Bridge and Roadway Reopened

Avenue 70 bridge

In late September, a contractor for the water district was in the process of removing and replacing the existing canal lining as part of a channel improvement project. The contractor had removed the existing channel lining in entirety, with the exception of a short segment of lining under the Avenue 70 bridge, when a flash flood occurred.

The storm water flooded, overtopped and damaged the channel, damaged and washed away roadway east of the bridge crossing, washed away the remaining channel lining, and created a 40-foot gap behind the east bridge abutment and the road, exposing the abutment foundation.

A subsequent storm event on Oct. 12 further impacted the bridge. Following both storm events, Riverside County and California Department of Transportation structures engineers assessed the condition of the bridge and determined that the structure is salvageable.

Repairs to the road and bridge were started in mid-April under an expedited plan approved the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved. However, major work was halted with the arrival of birds nesting on the construction site. The repair work resumed in the following month once the birds fledged. Additional work was required to stabilize the bridge foundation.

Contractor Alabbasi of Perris was awarded the $665,555 contract to make the repairs.

Image Sources

  • Avenue 70 Bridge: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
  • Coachella Canal Wasteway: Supervisor V. Manual Perez