Construction started last month on the Ashley Road bridge in Montecito, and the Santa Barbara County Public Works expects to finish by the end of 2019.
The bridge, located between East Mountain Drive and Sycamore Canyon Road, was one of several county and Caltrans bridges destroyed or severely damaged in the Jan. 9, 2018 debris flows.
Its stone railings washed downstream, sections of the abutments broke off, and a wall along the right side of the arch was significantly damaged.
The bridge was demolished last June and replaced with a temporary bridge for emergency vehicle access.
County Public Works expedited this $1.7-million project as part of the process of restoring transportation connectivity to Montecito, Public Works spokesman Lael Wageneck said.
The bridge closure has pushed vehicle traffic onto other surface streets, frustrating residents in the Ashley Road area, he added.
The 64-foot by 22-foot bridge was designed to fit in with the natural environment of the neighborhood and reflect the historical significance of the original bridge, which was built in 1918, Wageneck said.
Crews are “trying to provide Montecito residents and visitors with a bridge that has the same look and feel as before the debris flow,” Project Manager Charlie Elbert said in a statement.
Project funding for the bridge comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (contributing $1.3 million), California Office of Emergency Services (contributing $340,000), and county maintenance money (contributing $113,000).
County Public Works is collaborating with the city of Santa Barbara and the Montecito Trails Foundation to reuse the stones from the old Ashley Road bridge, by rebuilding the popular Cold Springs trailhead on East Mountain Drive, Wageneck said. The trail was damaged in last January’s debris flow.
A plaque will be placed at the trailhead to identify where the stones came from.