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Cabrillo Boulevard Upgrade to Begin Next Month

Three-year project is aimed at improving pedestrian access and safety, and will replace Mission Creek bridge.

Cabrillo Boulevard will undergo a transformation when the city of Santa Barbara embarks on three key projects to improve pedestian access, safety and the lower Mission Creek area.

The East Cabrillo Sidewalk Replacement, West Beach Pedestrian Improvements and Cabrillo Boulevard Bridge Replacement over Mission Creek will provide aesthetic and structural enhancements to beautify the gateway to Santa Barbara.

Throughout construction, which will last until 2011, Cabrillo traffic lanes and access to the beaches will remain open.

In April, work will begin on East Cabrillo Boulevard to replace the beach side sidewalks between Anacapa and Milpas streets. Additional area improvements include benches and landscaping between the sidewalk and street. That work is expected to run through the summer.

During the first half of 2009, new sidewalks and pedestrian areas will be added to West Beach, along West Cabrillo Boulevard, between State Street and the Harbor. The city will add small plazas, improve beach access and install educational signs and public art elements.

The largest project will begin in the fall of 2009 and will replace the Cabrillo Boulevard Bridge over Mission Creek. The new bridge will replace the deteriorating 1920s-era, five-lane bridge to improve safety and expand pedestrian areas. Mission Creek will also benefit from better water flow under the bridge, new creek banks, and enhanced habitat areas for steelhead trout and tidewater gobies.

Construction for the Cabrillo bridge replacement is estimated at $20 million and will be funded through the Federal Highway Bridge Program and Measure D funds. The majority of construction will occur weekdays from the fall of 2009 to 2011. During daytime construction, at least one lane in each direction will remain open on Cabrillo.

The bridge project will be reviewed by the state Coastal Commission this spring. Next steps include National Environmental Protection Act clearance and gaining permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the state Department of Fish and Game.

The city is also exploring pedestrian safety improvements for the intersection of Anacapa and Cabrillo, where a crosswalk spans the street near Skaters Point. If added, construction intersection improvements would correspond with the Cabrillo bridge replacement.

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