Caltrans will begin construction on April 15 of a $2.5 million project to replace a 1930s-era bridge over Hurkey Creek on Highway 74 in Garner Valley.

During construction of the bridge, slated to take 195 working days, according to Caltrans District 8 Public Information Officer Joy Sepulveda, one lane of traffic will be open at all times. During additional work days devoted to “plant establishment,” two lanes of traffic may be open. The affected area on Highway 74 is from mile marker 62.3 to 62.5, just across from the Lake Hemet Campground. Commercial truck traffic will be rerouted during bridge construction, according to Caltrans.

The bridge is currently only 23 feet wide from side railing to railing, and 34.1 feet long. The bridge, the narrowest section of Highway 74, is not wide enough to safely accommodate present-day use by either wide or high-speed vehicles, according to Caltrans. The new bridge will almost double the current width to 43.5 feet.

Project plans specify removing the existing bridge; constructing a two-span, 43.5-foot wide, 50-foot-long bridge; regrading creek slopes nearest bridge abutments and placing rocks for slope protection; constructing four retaining walls at the sides of the bridge and installing bridge-approach railings; applying architectural treatments to minimize visual and cultural impacts; and removing only trees within the new bridge path. Planners said part of the project would include planting trees and vegetation to complement the site once the bridge is installed.

Planning for the bridge project began in 2012 with project approval and approval of an environmental document, bridge design and award of the project, public meetings to explain the project to area residents and a public-comment period.

Granite Construction of Vista won the open bid for the project. Other California projects of Granite Construction have included the San Jose International Airport Terminal, Route 91 Express Lanes and the San Carlos Community Development in Carmel where Granite crews built water reservoirs, storage ponds and nine bridges to connect a 60-mile road network in an environmentally sensitive area.