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Local News

Construction Starts for Goleta Beach Park Bridge Replacement Project

The $4.86 million project, eight years in the making, will address safety inadequacies for the popular park's only entrance and exit point, county officials say

Santa Barbara County officials celebrate the groundbreaking of the Goleta Beach Park bridge replacement project Thursday. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County officials celebrate the groundbreaking of the Goleta Beach Park bridge replacement project Thursday.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

For Goleta Beach Park, the most popular park in Santa Barbara County, vehicles have only one entrance and exit: the two-lane, 1960s-era bridge spanning the Goleta Slough.

The narrow, aging bridge, which no longer meets design standards, will be replaced in a little over a year’s time with a new one located just west of the existing one.

The bridge’s support piles are degrading due to an irreversible deterioration called “reactive aggregate,” county Public Works Director Scott McGolpin said at the project’s groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning.

Supporting structures were added in 2008 to bolster the disintegrating concrete, which provides the bridge’s structural capacity, he said.

The new bridge, to be built over the next 13 months by MCM Construction, will cost $4.86 million, $4.3 million of which will come from the Federal Highway Administration bridge program and $560,000 of which from Caltrans’ Toll Credits.

The current two-lane bridge will stay open during construction on the new bridge, located to the west of the current entrance. Click to view larger
The current two-lane bridge will stay open during construction on the new bridge, located to the west of the current entrance.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

“This is 100-percent funded with non-local funding, so that’s a huge achievement, I think, for our local community,” McGolpin said.

The current bridge, adjacent Obern Trail bike path, and park concessionaires won’t be affected by the construction, officials said.

The new bridge will be 53.5 feet wide — 20 feet longer than the present one — and will sport a pedestrian walkway and bike lanes separated from the two lanes of vehicle traffic.

The walkway will be stained and stamped to resemble a boardwalk, and the bridge will feature decorative and wood railings and faux cobblestone, County Parks deputy director Paddy Langlands said at the ceremony.

“Some may view this bridge as just another Public Works project, but it’s definitely more than that,” said Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, whose jurisdiction includes the park.

Construction on the new Goleta Beach Park bridge is scheduled to start Monday, Second District County Supervisor Janet Wolf said at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony. Click to view larger
Construction on the new Goleta Beach Park bridge is scheduled to start Monday, Second District County Supervisor Janet Wolf said at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

“This wonderful new bridge will be a reflection of our community’s love of this special place that we call Goleta Beach Park.”

More than 1.5 million visitors come out to the park each year, she said.

Plans for a new bridge have been in the works for over eight years, she added, saying construction is slated to begin Monday.

Because the bridge spans the environmentally sensitive Goleta Slough, Wolf said, the project will be subject to rigorous environmental oversight.

“Our project includes extensive mitigations and monitoring that will provide restoration and enhancement to address any impacts to the slough,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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.

The concept design of the bridge shows the pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes planned next to each lane of traffic. Click to view larger
The concept design of the bridge shows the pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes planned next to each lane of traffic.  (Santa Barbara County photo)
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