The Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge (MVAB) project is a complex bridge replacement project that spans over one of the largest rail yards in the region. An iconic structure in San Bernardino, the Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge connected communities on the west side of San Bernardino for 86 years, serving as a vital link for residents, visitors, students, and businesses.
Given that the bridge was rated as severely deficient, public safety reasons strongly encouraged that the deconstruction effort commences as soon as possible while the design-build team finalized other critical path items toward reconstruction. Accordingly, the bridge closed to the public in December 2020 and disassembly was completed in April 2021.
Following disassembly of the bridge, operators of the rail yard, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, needed to relocate a building in their yard and perform work to realign some of the rail lines in order to maintain operations during the reconstruction. As a result, the Mt. Vernon project was staged so that bridge work would be suspended during the BNSF operation. The original schedule made some assumptions on indeterminate items like utilities, property acquisition, and other right of way issues. Unfortunately, those areas took longer than anticipated and BNSF was delayed in commencing their work until they were resolved. In April 2023, SBCTA helped to resolve a utility conflict within the rail yard, allowing BNSF to proceed with their work. With that hurdle cleared, BNSF now estimates their improvements will be completed in December 2023, three months later than the initial estimate.
Coordination is taking place to see where there are opportunities to concurrently perform some of the tasks outside of the railyard, to make up for time lost and identify opportunities to advance the schedule wherever possible. As these time saving opportunities are identified, additional updates will be provided. With this timeline in mind, SBCTA is exploring options to advance bridge reconstruction efforts, until bridge work within the BNSF site is cleared to commence in December.
SBCTA and the project design-build team, Traylor Granite Joint Venture (TGJV), are working diligently to reconstruct the Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge and reconnect the southern and northern sections of West San Bernardino as soon as possible. With this information, SBCTA is optimistic that the new bridge will be completed and open to the public in 2025.
In the meantime, SBCTA and Omnitrans have partnered to provide a free bus service to the community. The service provided more than 250 trips in March and is free while the project is underway. Lastly, SBCTA has partnered with local businesses to create a bilingual business brochure to highlight local businesses in the area. To learn more about the Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge, the complimentary bus service provided by SBCTA and Omnitrans, and the bilingual business brochure, visit goSBCTA.com/mtvernonbridge or call 877-55-SBCTA.