Merced may be the Gateway to Yosemite, but the road that takes people to Half Dome, Highway 140, offers a washboard ride in some places.
The bridge that rises above the train tracks on the east side of Merced, the Bradley Overpass, is perhaps where the road's woes begin.
It's seen better days. Chunks of pavement are missing atop the structure. Rude bumps bracket the bridge like trenches lining a no-man's land full of craters.
Tipster Wayne Hein wrote the Sun-Star an e-mail complaining about the bridge's condition. He said there are two bumps that jolt drivers on either side of the road -- one says hello, the other bids drivers goodbye.
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Just as motorists rise above the city for their first glimpse of an uninterrupted view of the mountains to the east, they get a jolt.
And when they come down from the panoramic view atop the bridge, lifting themselves out of their seats to get one last look at the snow-dusted mountains, another bump sends them on their way.
Has anyone taken a look at this bridge on the corrugated eastern edge of the Gateway to Yosemite?
Well, it seems others have noticed the bridge's rough spots, too. In fact, the California Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for the bridge, wants to build a new one.
The Bradley Overpass, built in 1931 and last repaved in 1998, is slated for a total rebuild. According to Caltrans spokeswoman Lisa Balcom, a new $32 million overpass is scheduled to start construction in September.
WHAT'S WRONG: potholes and bumps on the Bradley Overpass.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE: Caltrans.
WHAT'S BEING DONE: A new overpass is scheduled for construction starting in September.
If any of their other roadways have problems, call Caltrans spokeswoman Lisa Balcom at (209) 941-6562.
Reporter Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at (209) 385-2484 or e-mailed at email@example.com.
Tip off the tip list!
If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Jonah Owen Lamb, with your tips at (209) 385-2484 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.