INDIO – Indio is celebrating.
With a mariachi band playing, Thursday’s celebration is for the completion of a bridge.
But, this is not just any bridge. It is the Miles Avenue bridge that crosses the Whitewater wash. Residents have been waiting a long time for this.
“I’ve lived here long enough to remember when it would flood, and this would be closed off,” says Wesley Preston who was biking over the bridge with his wife. “We would have to go around. Now, we don’t have to do that anymore.”
Construction began a year ago, creating a traffic nightmare. To get to the other side, residents were forced to drive a half-mile out of their way. Sometimes, they would have to deal with buses coming in and out of Indio Middle School.
Now, those days are gone. The bridge stands 35 feet above the wash with 16 concrete piles holding it up. It is even eco-friendly. The asphalt is known as “rubberized asphalt,” partially made out of recycled tires. It creates a smoother surface, and it cushions the noise when cars are crossing. The bridge railings will be opaque to deflect the glare of cars’ headlights.
The “La Hacienda Nursery” is located right next to the 660-foot long bridge, and its business is blooming because of the bridge.
“Our retail sales are up daily now,” says Jim Harrison, the nursery’s president. “We’re seeing an increase everyday because people see the roads open.”
Harrison shared even more good news. He says he has been able to hire back workers he had to lay off because of the tough times.
The bridge is part of a three-phase project at a total cost of $22 million. The final phase begins in Spring 2010.