SANTA CLARITA – The gleaming white Botts dots on the new Golden Valley Road bridge were streaked Friday with muddy tire tracks, a beautiful sight for the 100 or so people gathered in the rain to celebrate the opening of this key segment of roadway. It meant traffic was moving from the Antelope Valley Freeway, along Golden Valley to Soledad Canyon Road, easy freeway access for those in the heart of Santa Clarita. Umbrellas in hand, men in well-worn work boots stood among dignitaries in suits, all heralding the completion of the $31 million, six-lane, 380-foot strip of roadway that sweeps across Soledad Canyon Road, then curves around to intersect it. The bridge, completed on schedule and on budget, is a piece of Santa Clarita’s planned Cross Valley Connector, which will link the freeway to Interstate 5. It is expected to be completed in 2008 and take traffic off clogged highways that now cross the valley. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “This road is going to serve all of Santa Clarita,” said Scott Wilk, representing U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, who has helped secure federal funding for the connector. Golden Valley will save local motorists time, important to improving residents’ quality of life, Wilk said. As if endorsing his statement, a whistle sounded in the background as a Metrolink train passed under the new road. The bridge swoops over the Union Pacific railroad tracks, meaning motorists won’t be stuck waiting for freight and commuter trains. Adolfo Bailon, speaking for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., quoted the senator as calling the roadway a “new era of movement through the region.” The entire $245 million Cross Valley Connector is being funded by the city of Santa Clarita, developers through city and county assessment districts, the federal government and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It is composed of Golden Valley Road from the east and Newhall Ranch Road to the west and will span 8.5 miles. Larry Rasmussen, developing Centre Pointe Business Park in the Golden Valley area, urged the Santa Clarita City Council to remain focused on completing the connector, which could face lawsuits from environmental groups as it proceeds across the Santa Clara River further west. Rasmussen, sporting a festive tie patterned with Christmas trees, dismissed as “trivial” any such action to block completion of the connector. Patricia Farrell Aidem, (661) 257-5251 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!