Ribbon cutting for bridge project
Members of the Santa Barbara City Council, including Mayor Cathy Murillo wielding the scissors, celebrate the bridge replacement on West Anapamu Street Wednesday.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

A new bridge on Santa Barbara’s Lower Westside opened to the public this week after seven months of construction.

The West Anapamu Street Bridge crosses Lower Mission Creek and is located between San Andres Street and San Pascual Street.

The $1.9-million renovations upgraded the nearly 100-year-old bridge by increasing the roadway width, improving the pedestrian sidewalk and corridor, and restoring the creek landscaping, project engineer Kenneth Young said.

The bridge allows two-way traffic and parking on both sides of it.

“It’s straight now,” Young said of the bridge. “Before, we had kind of a bottleneck… before, nobody could park on the bridge, and it’s a lot wider on the sidewalks, so people can comfortably walk up and down.”

A bulk of funding was from Federal Highway Administration bridge improvement grants, and the project was selected for renovation in accordance with National Bridge Inspection Standards

“We do need this bridge,” Jim Dewey, the city’s streets operations and infrastructure manager, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning. “It needed to be replaced.”

A resident drove her car over the bridge during the ceremony. She shouted “great job,” and gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to city officials.

Young said the West Anapamu Street Bridge is the first of three bridges finished during the 2018-19 construction season.

The Gutierrez Street Bridge project — over Mission Creek between De La Vina Street and Chapala Street — replaces the existing “structurally deficient” bridge with a new structure. More lighting will be installed near the new bridge, too. 

Another project is replacing the bridge on Montecito Street. The goal is to encourage more people to walk to-and-from their destinations by providing a safe pedestrian environment, according to city staff.

Both projects are scheduled to be complete in spring, Young said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at bholland@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

New bridge

The widened bridge on West Anapamu Street reopened to traffic after about seven months of construction.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)