REGION — Deemed “structurally inefficient,” the narrow bridge on El Camino Real just north of San Dieguito Road will be replaced with a four-lane structure, but not for at least another three years, according to an update from Dean Marsden at the Feb. 6 San Dieguito Community Planning Group meeting.
Marsden, from the city of San Diego Public Works Department, said the bridge would not allow 100-year flood waters to pass underneath.
Traffic in the area is currently rated at a level F, the worst, with daily trips expected to increase by 200 percent in the next 20 years. Plans call for the city of San Diego, which has jurisdiction over the area, to eventually realign the roadway.
According to an environmental impact report, the existing bridge will be removed. There are several different proposals for alignment, and each creates impacts that will need to be mitigated.
Roundabouts have been studied, but are not the preferred alternatives, as they would require a large footprint. The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, San Diego Association of Governments, California Department of Transportation and San Diego are collaborating to work with the mitigation properties.
Much of the funding is from the federal government, which means the project must meet National Environment Protection Act requirements as well as those of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The state Coastal Commission boundary is the eastern side of El Camino Real. If that road is moved, the commission wants to move the boundary to retain the jurisdiction.
The city is hoping to secure CEQA and NEPA approvals by the summer of 2015 so construction can begin in January 2017.
The bridge design has the ability to accommodate a ramp for horses, bicycles and pedestrians. The agreement with the San Diego Polo Club expired in 2012. The club continues to operate, but any agreement is on hold until the city determines how it will proceed with this project.
The segment running on the border of Mary’s Tack & Feed will remain in place for access to those properties and Del Mar Horse Park.
The project is expected to cause issues for patrons of the restaurants near the existing light. The western side of Via de la Valle will be widened by a developer, but no plans have been submitted yet.