Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 3:40 pm | Fair 75º

 
 
 
 

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Goleta Beach Park Lease Renewed Till 2035 as Bridge Replacement Project Gets Under Way

Santa Barbara County and the State Lands Commission renewed a lease allowing the county to maintain Goleta Beach Park — soon to be the site of a brand-new bridge that provides the only vehicle access route to the heavily used recreational area.

In a unanimous vote last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to extend its lease with the State Lands Commission through 2035.

The 20-year lease now includes the current and proposed wider, safer bridge, as well as the permanent rock revetment and existing improvements going on at Goleta Beach Park.

It also consolidates four parcels of state-owned tidelands and submerged lands (totaling nearly five acres) into one master lease, revamping a separate-agreement system. Most Goleta Beach Park land was transferred to the county in 1970.

Crews are working to build a less obstructive bridge to connect Sandspit Road near the Santa Barbara Airport to the park bordering UC Santa Barbara and the Goleta Slough.

The current bridge, built in the 1970s during the Highway 217 project, will remain open during construction and be demolished after the new one is complete, possibly by the fall of 2016, according to county Public Works Department staff.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam worried that the lease would require the county to eventually dig out rocks — going against a hard-fought battle to keep the rock revetment to protect the beach from erosion — but county counsel clarified the rocks would remain until the lease expired and terms were renegotiated.

Emergency repairs were made to the bridge in 2008, when Caltrans added support to piles suffering from a permanent condition called “reactive aggregate.”

The new bridge will be 20 feet wider, offering enough room for a raised five-foot pedestrian path — currently three feet — adjacent to a 12-foot bicycle path running parallel to, but separate from, northbound traffic.

The bridge is a vital connection for the coastal bike path to UCSB across the slough to the park, which is used by 1 million visitors each year.

The Federal Highway Bridge Program will fund nearly 90 percent of the $3.2 million project, with the state paying the rest.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

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