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Construction of the Rice Canyon Canal Bridge: A Photographic Chronology

By on August 20, 2020 in News

We have worked hard over the last two and a half years to ensure the Rice Canyon Canal Bridge, which crosses over the Robles Diversion Canal, would be reborn from the ashes once again after it burned in the Thomas Fire in 2017. However, unlike its last two predecessors that were constructed of wood, the new bridge is made out of steel and concrete and we know it will be more resilient when the next fire comes.

The installation of the new Rice Canyon Canal Bridge means improved access to Rice Canyon, the beloved Rice to Wills loop, and the western portion of the Ventura River Preserve and its extensive network of trails; including a gateway trail (Kennedy Ridge Trail) leading into the Los Padres National Forest. Hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians all agree that the loop from Rice Canyon to Wills Canyon is one of the most beloved routes on the preserve. Following an old ranch road, it provides a trail that is accessible to all levels of users and creates one of the most enjoyable loops in Ojai.

We know how much the community relies on the preserves, especially during this unprecedented time, and we hope that this bridge allows visitors to spread out more as they explore the preserves.

The bridge not only acts as a passage way for humans, but it will also provide a safe corridor for wildlife that are unable to cross the treacherous diversion canal.

Thank you for all of your support! Please enjoy the following photographic timeline of the construction of the new bridge.

The aftermath of the second Rice Canyon Canal Bridge that burned in the Thomas Fire of 2017
Prior to the start of construction, the fenced off bridge site sat in a state of decay
(Photo taken on June 18, 2020)
The soil at the bottom of two large pits dug into the sides of the canal were compacted and leveled to set the foundation of the bridge
(Photo taken on June 25, 2020)
Steel rebar was formed and poured with concrete to make for a very durable substructure
(Photo taken on July 6, 2020)
A look at the incredibly thick footings and structurally sound abutments of the bridge as recently poured concrete cured around the solid grid of rebar
(Photo taken on July 13, 2020)
The constructed superstructure consisting of the railings and decking was transported on-site by truck and set in place with a crane
(Photo taken on July 21, 2020. Courtesy of Larry Lewis)
The final bridge set in place with only the approaches left to be completed
(Photo taken on July 28, 2020)
OVLC Executive Director Tom Maloney enjoys the completed bridge for the first time
(Photo Credit: Rich Reid. Taken August 13, 2020)

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