Work on replacing an old Vallejo bridge was halted for about 40 minutes Friday morning after a pair of homeless persons refused to come out of a tunnel created by the contractor.

Vallejo spokeswoman Christina Lee said the contractor dug the tunnel along a railroad track under the Sacramento Street bridge. Work crews discovered clothing inside the space and began pulling the items out of the tunnel Friday morning before becoming concerned there might be individuals inside.

Two individuals were found and refused to leave the tunnel, forcing officials to call in a specialized confined-space team along with members of the Vallejo police and fire departments.

“The two individuals eventually left the space after being offered food,” Lee added.

One of the persons complained they were not feeling well and was taken to the hospital, while the second individual refused all services and left the area, she said.

“It was an ideal location, the tunnel had just been dug, and they figured no one would bother them,” Lee said.

In February, the Vallejo City Council approved an $8.3 million contract with Gordon N. Ball, Inc., to replace the 108-year-old bridge located between Farragut and Yolo avenues and Illinois Street.

The bridge was widened in the 1930s. Following the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, the state tagged the bridge as needing a seismic retrofit, according to a City Hall staff report. Since 2012, the city has sought funds to replace the bridge completely.

Replacing the bridge is expected to take about five months, city staff added.