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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 3:57 am | Fair 39º


Caltrans Making Progress on Plans to Demolish, Rebuild Damaged Montecito Bridges

Four spans along Highway 192 are being removed and replaced with similar designs to what was there before the Jan. 9 debris flow damage


Caltrans has demolished three Montecito bridges along Highway 192 that were damaged in the debris flows, and plans to rebuild them with similar designs, according to spokesman Jim Shivers.

The deadly Jan. 9 debris flows caused heavy damage to utilities, roads, bridges and other infrastructure in addition to its destruction of homes and other private property.

Both Caltrans and Santa Barbara County are in the process of repairing or replacing the damaged bridges.

Once the Highway 192 bridges are open to through traffic again, the roadway will provide an alternative east-west route to Highway 101 through Montecito and Summerland.

Caltrans has six damaged bridges along Highway 192, with four of them that will be demolished and replaced, and two that need new bridge rails.

“We’re essentially rebuilding the structures along 192 in a very similar manner, they’ll have a very similar look as before,” Shivers said of the replacement projects. “There could be some widened shoulders for pedestrians and bicyclists and bringing the structures up to a more modern code, but we’re not looking to go to anything that was much larger than what was there before.”

Caltrans estimates finishing all the bridge construction by spring 2019, but bridges will be reopened as soon as they are done, Shivers said.

Only one bridge still needs to be demolished — the one over Montecito Creek at Parra Grande Lane — but the others may be replaced by late summer or fall, he said.

From west to east, bridge projects include:

» Montecito Creek bridge at Parra Grande Lane replacement: This bridge has been closed since the debris flows, which caused huge destruction in the area. Many of the victims lived in nearby homes. The bridge will be demolished later this month, after workers finish relocating utilities, including water and gas lines, Shivers said.

» San Ysidro Creek bridge at Glen Oaks Lane and Randall Road: Huge boulder fields, with rocks larger than cars, hit the nearby neighborhoods, and it has been a very active construction and debris-removal zone. The bridge needs new rails, but has been open to two-way traffic in the meantime.

» Romero Creek bridge near Ortega Ridge Road: It was demolished on Friday and will be replaced.  

» Toro Canyon bridge near Ladera Lane: It needs new bridge rails but is open to traffic.

» Toro Canyon Creek bridge near Toro Canyon Road: This bridge was demolished in May and will likely be replaced by August, according to Shivers.

» Arroyo Paredon bridge in Carpinteria, west of Cravens Lane: It was demolished on Tuesday. Caltrans was already planning to replace this bridge, so the design and construction plan “simply got accelerated given the events with the storm and the debris flow,” Shivers said. It should reopen this fall.

Caltrans will eventually replace the Olive Mill Road Highway 101 overpass bridge rails, which were destroyed (and has temporary K-rails in their place) as the debris flows flooded the freeway.

Santa Barbara County plans to replace bridges at East Mountain Drive near San Ysidro Ranch (which was completely destroyed by the storm) and at Ashley Road. A low-water Cold Spring Creek crossing on East Mountain Drive, near trailheads, was also taken out by the debris flow.

New FEMA flood hazard maps are expected to be released next week, and Santa Barbara County plans to apply for hazard mitigation grant funding for flood control-related improvement projects.

The FEMA grants require local cost sharing (putting up 25 percent) and no construction done before application approval.

County staff told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that they are working on grant applications for projects to alter three debris basins, buy land to use as a temporary storage area for debris, and replace some culverts.

For the Cold Spring, San Ysidro and Romero debris flows, the county plans to “increase the basin capacity volume, to facilitate sediment recovery downstream, and to enable anadromous fish passage.”  

Click here for a map of damaged bridges, including closures. 

Scroll down to view the Santa Barbara County Recovery Strategic Plan.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Santa Barbara County Recovery Strategic Plan by Giana Magnoli on Scribd

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