It’s full steam ahead for construction on the new La Selva Beach train trestle. It took about a week to tear down the rusty structure built in 1926, and the new bridge is expected to be completed on schedule, by the end of December. Train service in the county is on hold indefinitely while workers make repairs to the rail line.
“We haven’t had any problems, and things have gone smoothly,” said Michael Dorsa, project manager for Stacy and Witbeck.
The La Selva Beach trestle is the largest of four bridges that needs replacing along the 31-mile rail line that runs from Pajaro to Davenport. The other bridges are smaller and just need rehabilitation. About $5.3 million in state transportation improvement funding was set aside to pay for the four projects as part of the purchase agreement between the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) and Union Pacific—which was negotiated for a decade and finalized in 2012.
“The La Selva Beach trestle is a milestone because it’s one of the largest bridges and it brings us one step closer to increased use of the rail corridor,” says RTC spokesperson Karena Pushnik.
Dorsa says the new bridge will be made of American steel. It arrived in pieces from Coolidge, Arizona, where it was manufactured and painted. “We used the existing cement foundations and reinforced them with rebar and new anchor bolts,” said Dorsa. “First we erect the two towers, next the girders and finally the deck.”
Construction of the new La Selva Beach trestle requires a 600,000 pound crane, the largest in the county, according to R.C. Johnston of the La Selva Beach Improvement Association.
The next phase of rail construction begins this month with trestles at Hidden Beach and Wilder Ranch. Dorsa estimates they will be finished in eight weeks.
RTC Deputy Director Luis Mendez has been working on the rail project from the beginning. He looks forward to seeing trains rolling down the tracks again.
“I’ve already been contacted by a freight service that’s interested in receiving shipments of lumber,” said Mendez.
The Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Railway owns the operating rights and Mendez hopes one day to start passenger service. CC
As Cruzio CEO Peggy Dolgenos strides to the parking lot to see the rented search lights illuminating the sky, she explains that she didn’t want to celebrate her Internet company’s 25th anniversary in any ordinary fashion.
“We always like to have a big party, and this is the biggest party. We are always trying to outdo ourselves,” says Dolgenos, gripping a camera in one hand and a wine glass in the other.
Cruzio’s First Friday celebration on Nov. 7 also featured hanging lights, a photo booth, live music, and a red carpet to honor its devoted customers—who Dolgenos says are the only reason the phone and Internet provider-turned-coworking-facility has thrived. She says when she and her husband Chris Neklason started Cruzio 25 years ago, it was largely a hobby, and they didn’t know what direction it would take, although they had a dream.
“We thought it was going to change the world, and maybe bring world peace, which maybe it really hasn’t—the Internet,” she says. “But we thought of it as this big, global change. We thought it was really going to change everything. And that it has.” JP