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Barrier Work to Begin Next Week on Cold Spring Bridge

Crews will drill holes and take measurements — work that could be reversed depending on the outcome of pending litigation

The first steps in constructing a Cold Spring Bridge suicide barrier will begin Monday, June 28, though the months-long process remains entangled in litigation.

Next week, workers from Bugler Construction of Pleasanton will drill holes in the concrete portion of the bridge. From there, they will take measurements for the gridded mesh barrier and send out for it to be fabricated.

Timelines sent to Friends of the Bridge attorney Marc Chytilo — who is representing the group in its civil fight against the barrier project — indicate that the first phase of work is preliminary as construction is concerned, and could be reversed if the court demands (such as filling the holes).

A court hearing is scheduled for July 13, and all told, it is likely to be two to three months before any installation of a barrier, Chytilo said.

One lane of the bridge will be closed June 28 through July 1, except on Fridays and weekends, and bicyclists and pedestrians will be detoured away from the bridge during construction, Caltrans said in a news release. The project is expected to be complete by September — providing, of course, that Caltrans wins the California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit filed by the Friends of the Bridge.

All businesses and attractions in the Santa Ynez Valley will remain open and accessible via Highway 154 and the bridge, which will not be closed at any time during construction.

Construction will be supervised by Caltrans engineers, spokesman Jim Shivers said.

The project carries a $778,000 price tag — up from an estimated $750,000 in early May — including $648,000 of which is actual construction costs.

It has created passionate support and opposition in its journey to approval. Click here to revisit Noozhawk’s series on the Cold Spring Bridge barrier project.

Proponents of the plan include local law enforcement and the Glendon Association, a nonprofit organization that researches suicide and violence prevention.

In a news release, Chytilo said that other community groups have supported a low-impact plan as an alternative to a physical barrier. Those groups, according to Chytilo, include the Pearl Chase Society, the Citizens Planning Association, Los Padres Forest Watch, the Santa Barbara County Action Network, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance and Women’s Environmental Watch.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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