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Roadway’s rising: Atascadero's new Lewis Avenue Bridge

Workers on the Lewis Ave Bridge are still completing the final stages of the framework and expect to receive the cables to suspend it Friday.
Workers on the Lewis Ave Bridge are still completing the final stages of the framework and expect to receive the cables to suspend it Friday. The Tribune

Work crews are busy this week on the Lewis Avenue Bridge in Atascadero. The $6.2 million suspension bridge will link downtown to the planned Colony Square retail center at El Camino Real and Morro Road. Supporters say the bridge and retail center are key to transforming the city’s dormant downtown into a regional shopping and entertainment hub.

How far along is the Lewis Avenue Bridge?

Steve Kahn, the city’s public works director, said contractors expect to complete construction on the steel trusses holding up the roadway early next week. Crews are to use industrial-strength cables to connect the structure to the road.

Assistant City Manager Jim Lewis said the bridge will be be open to the public by Thanksgiving.

“We’re on budget, and construction is going as well as can be expected,” he said.

What can shoppers expect from Colony Square?

Construction on the first phase, a 10-screen movie theater, is expected to start later this year, Lewis said.

Developer Jim Harrison received permits to begin grading on the site this week.

Construction on the entire 210,000-square-foot residential and retail center could take three years. Other than the theater, Harrison has not announced any tenants.

The project was delayed earlier this year as Harrison and business partner Peter Hilf worked to secure a $45 million commercial mortgage needed to begin construction.

Harrison said Tuesday he expects the theater to open in summer 2008.

What could the projects mean for Atascadero?

Lewis said Colony Square could help pay for planned downtown improvements, including wider sidewalks and more appealing signs.

Colony Square’s estimated $300,000 in annual property taxes will go to the Atascadero Redevelopment Agency, which uses most of its money to pay for street improvements and other revitalization efforts.

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