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Cheseboro Bridge - Destroyed By Woolsey Fire - Reopens And Gets Renamed

AGOURA HILLS (CBSLA) --  The Cheseboro Bridge, -- destroyed by the Woolsey fire less than six months ago -- reopened Friday with a special ceremony.

The bridge also has a new name.

"It is so beautiful and I'm so pleased. But to do it so quickly..." said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

The old bridge was built in 1947.

"Getting this bridge back in place, as a safety and evacuation route was critical to our residents.  And that's why what the county did with us -- in working together to get this bridge done in less than six months -- is nothing short of extraordinary." says Mayor Linda Northrup.

Without the bridge, many residents said they felt trapped.

"It was tough." says Cyrena Nouzille, "You have to kinda wind around the neighborhood to get out of here."

Not just an inconvenience -- heavy rains made some of the detours nearly impassible.

But the bridge is doing more than just connecting the community now -- it's a sign of recovery.
Nine homes were destroyed in Agoura Hills and even more in neighboring Oak Park.

"With over 1500 structures destroyed," says Mark Pestrella, LA County Director of Public Words, "and miles and miles of guard rails gone,  and the safety of the community put at jeopardy because the infrastructure has been so impacted, but we're well on our way to that recovery."

Crews are repairing the damaged homes. But the lots of the destroyed homes still sit empty- but progress is beginning. The first building permit was submitted last week and the sites are being prepared so owners can rebuild.

Woolsey Fire
(credit: CBS)

"We've done in the last probably two months. wow, I would say ... 80, 100?" says Rick Cornel with Debris Removal Operations Center (DROC.)

Neighbors can now walk and drive across the bridge and see progress -- even a change in the name of the bridge. It is now named after a longtime resident, Jess Thomas

"It's a pleasure and a real honor to have my name on this, " says Thomas, "it's an engineering wonder here -- it might not be one of the seven of the world -- but it means the world to old Agoura."

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