Bridge retrofit plan gets funding OK

OCEANSIDE — The City Council approved $4.2 million in federal aid to help pay for a seismic retrofit strategy for Douglas Drive Bridge, which does not meet current standards.

The bridge was built in 1965. It spans 640 feet, is made of conventionally reinforced concrete and has a T-beam girder structure.

Oceanside was informed of the bridge’s shortfall in 1997, through the Caltrans bridge inspection program. State mandates call for bridges that fall below standards to be strengthened.

Monies awarded through the Local Bridge Seismic Safety Retrofit Program will be spread over seven years, and matched by city TransNet dollars.

Combined funds will see through the preparation of environmental documents, permits and design and construction plans to stabilize the bridge.

Work will be split into three phases.

The first phase entails seismic evaluation, and a decision to retrofit or replace the bridge.

Preliminary engineering and environmental work and a final design will follow.

Expanding traffic lanes on the bridge from four to six will be considered during planning.

The first phase of work will be funded by $423,500 in federal aid, and $482,500 in city TransNet funds. Subsequent phases are contingent on sufficient funds being available, and will be approved individually.

David Toschak, city senior civil engineer, presented the first phase funds request to City Council on Jan. 4.

He said the project presents an opportunity to ready the bridge for future traffic increases.

“We might as well build the bridge to full capacity, now would be a good time to do it,” Toschak said.

The Douglas Drive Bridge moves forward as a seismic retrofit project.

The Coast Highway Bridge, which was also inspected in 1997, will be rebuilt.

The older bridge was built in 1929, and spans 949 feet. It is constructed of a metal truss, which bears the load, and non-reinforced concrete.

The bridge’s age, column size and the condition of its deck make it more cost effective to rebuild.

The city approved $5.3 million in federal funds for bridge work in March 2015. Environmental reports and design plans have begun.

The bridge will be rebuilt with wider shoulder lanes and sidewalks on its west side to allow easier bike and pedestrian crossing and provide pedestrians a clear view of the ocean.

State and federal funding has been earmarked to cover 100 percent of construction costs, and will be received in several payments as the project moves forward.

The price to rebuild the Coast Highway Bridge is expected to be $30 million. Construction may start as soon as this year.

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