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Planning Pays Off for TP Bridge
August 2008 | by Mark Whitehead


The seismic retrofit and renovation of the historic bridge at our southern border is expected to begin during the second half of 2009. Full funding for the project, the most costly in the City's history, is expected from federal and state sources. According to David Scherer, Del Mar's Director of Public Works, the City Council will likely be presented with the project's Environmental Impact Report this fall. The environmental process, fortunately, is somewhat simplified because replacement of the bridge is no longer being considered, and retrofitting the existing structure is comparatively modest in any impacts to the environment. Thus, the project enjoys a "Categorical Exclusion" designation from the federal government, and a MND, mitigated negative declaration, from CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

During the past year the results from extensive testing of the bridge, e.g., boring to look at salt intrusion and structural soundness, have been evaluated by Caltrans. Planning for staging traffic during construction, and staging construction equipment, including the use of the state's parking lot, is underway. The details of engineering design are nearly done. Del Mar's success in garnering support for rehabilitation over replacement has resulted from many years of diligent work by city staff, most recently David Scherer, and the council, most recently bridge subcommittee members Druker and Crawford. The money to fully fund this project was freed up after the tragic Minnesota bridge collapse. But the money is finite and will go to projects that are "fully designed and reviewed, ready to go", according to Scherer. Our bridge, compared to other projects in California , is near the head of the line for funding thanks to long-term and careful planning.

Mark Whitehead is a former Mayor of Del Mar.



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