The first thing Santa Cruzans saw after the ribbon was cut opening the La Fonda Bridge Saturday was a table where they could register their bicycles.
Well played, Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission.
Hundreds of people showed up to see the new freeway overpass opened, a year after construction began and just in time for the start of the school year. The overpass connects neighborhoods to Harbor High School on one side and De Laveaga Elementary on the other and now features a wide sidewalk and bike path.
The bridge rebuild was part of a $21 million project that included widening Highway 1 below.
Although at one point a sign on the project said it would be done in February, that was a mistake, said Supervisor John Leopold, who cut the ribbon on one side of the bridge, while Supervisor Neal Coonerty cut the other. The bridge came in on schedule, a year after the old one was knocked down.
There was cake, snow cones, a bicycle-powered wheel that children used to make art, dignitaries, residents, bikes, pedestrians and no cars for the first 90 minutes of the new overpass's life. Then, cars went through, to the relief of neighbors who had been having to take the long road home for a year.
The RTC gave out stickers commemorating the event and the omnipresent ukulele society played an original "La Fonda Bridge Song," to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down.