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Local News

New Ortega Street Bridge to Open Wednesday, Two Months Ahead of Schedule

Santa Barbara officials will celebrate the improvements with a public ceremony at 10 a.m.

The new Ortega Street Bridge will open to the public this Wednesday.

A little more than two months ahead of schedule, the Ortega Street Bridge has been replaced and numerous street improvements built. The City of Santa Barbara, neighbors and elected officials will celebrate the new bridge opening at 10 a.m. Wednesday on Ortega Street between Bath and Castillo streets. The public is invited to attend the opening ceremony and view the new improvements.

“We are very pleased to finish up this project ahead of schedule and provide new street, bridge and creek improvements for the Westside,” said Adam Hendel, a supervising civil engineer for the City of Santa Barbara. “In addition to reducing the flooding risk for the neighborhood, the new bridge is safer for pedestrians and vehicles. The creek itself has new fish pools, creek banks and native landscaping. This block of Ortega Street also has new sidewalks, new paving, improved utilities and on-street landscaping. Overall, this is a great neighborhood improvement project and complements the city’s Redevelopment Agency projects that provide other improvements for the Lower Westside of Santa Barbara.”

Construction on the Ortega Street Bridge Replacement Project began in May 2011. The old bridge was deemed structurally deficient by Caltrans, and the new bridge was built to meet current safety requirements for earthquake standards and vehicular loads. As part of the bridge replacement project, construction crews:

» Relocated temporary utilities

» Removed the old bridge, structures and concrete channel walls

» Installed new bridge supports (pile driving)

» Built the new bridge walls and creek banks

» Installed the new bridge deck and railings

» Restored the creek bed and created fish pools

» Replaced utilities

» Paved Ortega Street and poured new sidewalks

» Installed irrigation and landscaping

The Ortega Street Bridge is the second bridge replaced as part of the overall Lower Mission Creek Flood Control Project. The bridge at Haley and De la Vina streets, opened this past summer, was the first bridge replaced.

The majority of funding (88.53 percent) for the $6.8 million bridge project was obtained through a federal grant from the Highway Bridge Program. The remainder is from city funds, including Santa Barbara’s half-cent transportation sales tax known as Measure A.

For more information, including project fact sheets in English and Spanish, click here or call the project helpline at 805.729.6005.

— Kirsten Ayars is a publicist representing the City of Santa Barbara Public Works Department.

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