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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 3:30 pm | Fair 67º


County Opens New Tepusquet Road Bridge

The structure, which replaces a dirt crossing, improves access for residents and emergency vehicles

Santa Barbara County officials on Saturday opened the Tepusquet Road Bridge, the first, all-new, all-weather bridge built by the county in decades.

Fifth District Supervisor Joseph Centeno and County Executive Officer Michael Brown, along with North County residents, officials from the county Public Works Department and the county Fire Department formally opened the bridge during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The $4.2 million, 700-foot-long, 34-foot-wide bridge spans the Sisquoc River and provides a much-needed safety link for North County residents, emergency vehicles and businesses between Foxen Canyon Road and Tepusquet Road.

The bridge replaces a seasonal dirt crossing of the Sisquoc riverbed that was available only when dry river conditions allowed temporary vehicle access to cross where the bridge now stands.

The Tepusquet Bridge creates a vital lifeline for the public, law enforcement and fire personnel, especially the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and paramedics based near the Sisquoc community on the Foxen Canyon Road side of the bridge. Previously, emergency first responders had to make a 12- to 15-mile detour to alternative crossings in order to serve the Tepusquet Road communities.

Now, the bridge allows easy, all-weather access and can save as much as 15 minutes off initial response times by emergency personnel. The bridge took about a year to build and was completed on time and on budget.

The ceremony also included a special plaque dedication honoring the significant contributions of two community members. Honorees included Linda Tunnel and Renee O’Neill, who have worked for several years with the Fire Safe Council to help prepare the Tepusquet community for fire emergencies and emergency preparedness.

Both women have worked closely with the Fire Safe Council, the county Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service for several years organizing community fire safety meetings and developing a phone tree notification system that was used for evacuation alerts to remote areas of Tepusquet during last year’s La Brea Fire. They are currently assisting County Fire with implementing a $63,000 grant to enhance evacuation corridors and defensible space areas around 40 structures in the Tepusquet Community.

The bridge was designed by Quincy Engineering Inc. of Sacramento. The bridge was built by Shasta Constructors Inc. of Redding. Funding was provided by the federal Highway Bridge Program, the vounty General Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Board.

— William Boyer is communications director for Santa Barbara County.


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