Caltrans this week started construction on the replacement of the Paramount Boulevard bridge in Montebello, which was demolished by a fuel tanker truck fire Dec. 14.

The $40-million project is funded by the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program to cover initial clean-up, demolition and construction.

The construction has been placed on an expedited schedule to complete the work by summer, according to Caltrans. Ortiz Enterprises Inc., Irvine, is the general contractor.

After the fire, State Route 60 was closed from the Long Beach Freeway (Interstate 710) to the San Gabriel River Freeway (Interstate 605) for emergency work. In three days, Flatiron and Caltrans crews quickly demolished fire-charred sections of the bridge and repaired damaged parts of eastbound SR-60 below the structure. Both sides of the freeway were re-opened on Dec. 17.

Caltrans said the replacement project on the 44-year-old bridge is necessary to ensure the structure is built to today’s state and federal safety standards. The new construction will widen the bridge to 128-ft, 32-ft wider than the old 96-ft structure; add a northbound lane (east side) with an 8-ft shoulder (there were no shoulders on the original bridge); and add a 14-ft center median (current median is 12 ft), and 6-ft sidewalks (current sidewalks are 5 ft).