A quick look at the reconstruction of the Tuolumne bridge for HSR

One of the most obvious signs of High Speed’s Rail’s (HSR) coming arrival to downtown Fresno has been the demolition – and now reconstruction – of the Tuolumne street bridge. The bridge was two lanes wide and carried traffic eastbound over the Union Pacific right of way. It was paired with the Stanislaus Street bridge which carries two lanes westbound.  

Both bridges will be demolished and replaced by a single bridge carrying traffic in both directions. The bridge will feature wider sidewalks as well. The reason is that aside from being 50 years old (or more?), the current structure of the bridge does not allow enough room for the new High Speed Rail tracks to fit. Once the new bridge is in place, and the Stanislaus Street bridge has been demolished, more serious work can be done downtown to create the new tracks and station.

Meanwhile, other construction is underway just north of downtown, as they have begun to build a trench. However, I was unable to get any good pictures. The construction area is surrounded by private property or the highway. 

Let’s take a look at the work on the bridge. I will begin with pictures I took back in January to see what it looked like a few days before closing forever. Below them are the pictures I took two weeks ago showing the current progress.

Here is the bridge back in January, taken from the sister bridge.

Frankly I don’t understand  why so much space has been wasted for 100 years.

 The bridge itself

 Not the best of sidewalk conditions.

I’m sure the structure itself was on its way out.

 Coming back you see the official sidewalk path – not ADA

The old pedestrian path also didn’t inspire much confidence in safety.  

 Frankly, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable parking here.

But these folks did.

There she is.

Wasn’t surprised to see this.

Looking towards Fulton.

That was January!

Now let us look at some recent pictures, starting from the other bridge again:

As an aside, here we are on the same bridge looking north.  No other construction is visible.

 I don’t know if this bridge will also be rebuilt (max zoom!) 

Oddly, they removed the traffic signal head but kept the signal functioning. What was the point, huge waste of time. Should be blinking red.

Bridge used to touch down here.

A new view of these lofts. I don’t know if they’re losing their parking lot?

Now from H street.

The other bridge.

The new supports.

H is blocked off for construction.

I hope the new bridge has good lighting underneath, especially because it will be much wider.

 And now walking back.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! 

8 Replies to “A quick look at the reconstruction of the Tuolumne bridge for HSR”

  1. Thanks for sharing. These pics you take are going to be great in the future to see how far the city has come. I'm excited to see everything come together and how much more developed and "finished" downtown fresno will be. I'm envisioning that it will be more complete and a place to attract people from the burbs during nights out to spread the economy within the city. Maybe also attract those from smaller towns in the fresno metro area for nights out in "the city" simply because its the closest to them. What will still make fresno meh are those patches of land that go undeveloped. The city should just make them parks or sitting areas or something.

  2. Hopefully the new bridge will have painted green bike lanes. It's a great opportunity to do it right on something that will be with us for half a century, but I'm not holding my breath.Some decorative lighting for the bridge or even artwork might help make the area not look so depressed.Something like the Long Beach bridge done with multicolored LEDs could look nice.


    1. You were wondering why so much of the space under the bridge had been left vacant for 100 years. I believe once upon a time that was railyards. (Probably a lot more recently than 100 years ago. Most of those yards were removed in the 1960s or later.)

  3. Yesss Indeoendent! I totally agree with the decorative accent lights. Fresno is waaaay behind with that concept. Makes DTF look unbelievably depressing. They lighted up the water tower which is great. But they need more, a lot more. And I love the new LED lights but they need to turn up the intensity. Still not bright enough. Doesn't make people feel safe in DTF.

  4. The new LED lights Caltrans and the city are installing, 4000 kelvin light while better then the 5000k daylight white Clovis was installing, are still a tad blue for general purpose street lighting. From an aesthetic standpoint, if all the lights were 4000k, the streets would look genuinely cold and washed out, not something you'd want to take a walk in so no "friendly eyes" to prevent crime. From an environmental standpoint they produce exponentially more light pollution than the older HPS lights, and they're far more likely to interrupt human circadian cycles than HPS. The main reason the city is seeing any type of savings is because they're just cutting the output/brightness of all their lights in half. They're making streets that were already underlit into streets very underlit. That's not to say all LED lighting is bad. It's just when you take Occam's Razor to it, you might end up with some unsatisfactory results.

  5. As for LED color temperature, the lights Caltrans and the city are retrofitting are 4000k which is the same cct, color temperature, Oakland used in it's conversion.


    Instead of that, basically imagine for the warm white 3000k lights something like this.


  6. Btw, Cree recently released their RSW warm white series of cobra heads. Lights like these could be an economical refit to most of the city's residential lighting and some of it's collector street lighting.


    (The)"RSW LED Street Luminaire is the first viable street light that delivers superior efficacy of up to 115 LPW at a color temperature of 3,000K and Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80. Municipalities and utilities originally adopted LED lighting that used mostly cool white LED technology to help achieve good efficacies and necessary economic advantages"

    It's an impressive effiency, if the manufacturer's claims are true. It also has a similar form factor to the existing cobrahead street lights.

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