A little more than a year ago, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) celebrated the grand opening of the Oso Parkway Bridge, which provides motorists with a direct connection between the 241 Toll Road and Los Patrones Parkway.
The project, which cost nearly $40 million and took just over two years to construct, was a multiagency collaboration between TCA, Caltrans and the County of Orange that improved safety, mobility and connectivity in the region. TCA funded the entire project, a 210-foot-long bridge that features six lanes of travel (three in each direction), dedicated bike lanes and wide sidewalks to enhance safety for students and families accessing Tesoro High School.
Thanks to the Oso Parkway Bridge, drivers traveling to or from the 241 Toll Road and Los Patrones Parkway can do so seamlessly by driving under the new bridge rather than having to stop at a busy, signalized intersection.
Drivers were excited about the project from the day it was announced. After the virtual “ribbon-cutting” featuring local elected officials and stakeholders, drivers like Kim, a resident of San Clemente, quickly began benefiting from the new bridge structure.
“I was counting down the days until the Oso Parkway Bridge opened and I drove under it on opening day. It has been a life saver for getting my kids to and from our home in San Clemente and their school in Rancho Santa Margarita,” Kim said.
TCA Chief Executive Officer Samuel Johnson said the project was another example of the Agencies’ mission to increase mobility.
“The Oso Parkway Bridge was an innovative solution to some of the transportation challenges folks were having in the area,” Johnson said. “We are pleased that our Board of Directors guided us in leveraging TCA’s financial strength in cooperation with our regional mobility partners to bring relief and mobility benefits to so many drivers in the area and surrounding communities.”
As intended, the Oso Parkway Bridge gives drivers mobility options. Since its opening, motorists who previously used the on- and off-ramps now travel under the Oso Parkway Bridge, rather than the circuitous route, enhancing safety and traffic operations.
Ben, another resident of San Clemente, said the Oso Parkway Bridge has made his northbound commute easier.
“I am travelling under the Oso Parkway Bridge about three to four times a week. Before the bridge opened, the time delays made taking the Los Patrones extension moot. Now I can enjoy a time saving and free-flowing road back and forth to the Inland Empire, making my toll on the 241 worth the expense, both personally and for business,” Ben said.
The project received local and regional recognition with awards from the Orange County Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS-OC), as well as the Orange County branch and the Los Angeles section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
For TCA, the greatest recognition comes from drivers who have seen surface street congestion eased, commute times lowered and access to businesses, restaurants and recreational activities increased.
“The Oso Parkway Bridge saves time, opposed to having to use side streets or the (Interstate) 5,” said Chuck from Rancho Santa Margarita. “I am able to use the 241/Los Patrones Pkwy to visit with one of my good friends and play golf, and travel to San Clemente for dog trainings.”