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County awaits Los Altos’ final design before selecting Loyola Corners bridge upgrade

Photo Elliott Burr/Town Crier

Pedestrians cross the Loyola Corners bridge over Foothill Expressway, scheduled for widening.

Santa Clara County officials presented two options for widening the bridge over Foothill Expressway at a study session with the Los Altos City Council Sept. 13.

The county’s decision is contingent on the city’s final design plans for Loyola Corners, which could be on the council’s agenda as early as Tuesday.

Widening the bridge could improve traffic flow and safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists between the retail district of Loyola Corners and the unincorporated area of the county, according to Masoud Akbarzadeh, county traffic engineer.

“It would bring the bridge up-to-date functionally and be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant,” Akbarzadeh said.

After meetings with residents to gauge feedback on renovating the bridge, county officials developed a design with two options, A and B. The options include bicycle shoulders and sidewalks in both directions on the bridge and a single left-turn lane from Loyola Drive onto Fremont Avenue. Option B, 11 feet wider than A, would feature sufficient space to enable left-turn capability in both directions.

Although the project is ranked in the highest project-priority category for funding, Tier 1, the county is unable to take action immediately, Akbarzadeh said. The project, which could cost approximately $2 million to $3 million in county funds, depends on Los Altos’ redesign plans for Loyola Corners, specifically the proposal to convert A Street to one-way northbound, he added.

“At this point, the county is on hold to proceed with the bridge design until we know what A Street is going to look like,” he said, adding that the bridge design must align accurately with the A Street design.

Completion of the project is estimated for 18 months after start date, Akbarzadeh said.

A year ago, the city council approved schematic plans for Loyola Corners that include changing A Street to one-way, wider sidewalks, street trees, medians, sidewalk and crosswalk treatments at intersections and medians, roadway stripings, additional parking for bicyclists and a plaza to showcase artistic elements that highlight the area’s history.

An approved design does not mean it’s final, according to Jim Gustafson, engineering services manager for Los Altos. Loyola Corners renovations remain an unfunded Capital Improvements Program project. The cost to convert A Street to a one-way street would be approximately $200,000, which does not include future bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Residents expressed mixed feelings about the project, Gustafson said. Many neighbors and Loyola merchants claim that the conversion of A Street to one-way northbound would add congestion to southbound movement along Miramonte Avenue, Fremont Avenue and Loyola Drive, he said.

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