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Reopened road, new bridge has Big Bear open for business

June 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a big day Friday for folks in the Big Bear area. After months of work, a new bridge is ready for traffic. The bridge is at the west end of Big Bear Lake, where highways 18 and 38 meet. The new wider bridge should give the area a financial boost by helping traffic flow.

It may have only taken a few seconds to cut the ribbon, but for mountain commuters and mountain tourists, the grand opening came not a moment too soon: The day commuters no longer need to drive over the Big Bear Dam, and instead can use the new bridge.

"When it snows hard, this bridge is going to be so important to us because of the traffic buildup we normally have here, the road conditions we have day in and day out here, this is going to be an intricate part of what Big Bear is all about," said Big Bear Lake Mayor Pro Tem Rick Herrick.

And the mountain economy can certainly use some good news. Not only was there a recession, but with State Route 330 closed twice in as many years because of storm damage, many businesses have shut their doors.

"We've all struggled this winter, and that's a major part of it, that road being closed," said Big Bear Lake resident Ray Burge.

But with the opening of Highway 330 last week and the new bridge Friday, residents like Burge say things should be much better, not only for business, but for drivers as well.

"That will definitely help," said Burge. "There's nothing you can really do, Big Bear, just the little resort town that it is, on special days, the 4th of July, or the winter with the snow, this city just gets log-jammed and that's that."

There are two things drivers should be pretty excited about, first off, they're no longer going to have to wait at a stop sign just to cross the dam coming into town. Secondly, when they leave town, there are two outgoing traffic lanes, so they won't have to wait nearly as long.

"I'm so happy because we have a house up here and we want to come up here every weekend this summer, so it will make it so much easier for us," said West Covina resident Zaida Obeso.

And maybe families will be able to do a little more relaxing and spend less time sitting in traffic.

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