‘Deficient’ bridge will remain for at least 3 years

‘Deficient’ bridge will remain for at least 3 years
The narrow bridge on El Camino Real, deemed “structurally inefficient,” will be replaced with a four-lane structure, but not for at least another three years. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

REGION — Deemed “structurally deficient” in 2012 by the California Department of Transportation Bridge Inspection Report, the 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 at the north end of the bridge.

During peak hours, traffic in the area is currently rated at a level F, which means traffic volumes exceed the roadway’s capacity. Daily trips are expected to increase by nearly 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, but 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, Caltrans and San Diego are collaborating to work with the mitigation properties.

A draft environmental impact report for the bridge and road-widening project, originally released in 2006, is being revised and is expected to be re-released this summer.

Much of the funding is from the federal government, which means the project must meet National Environmental Policy 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 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 western side of Via de la Valle will be widened by Black Mountain Ranch, however, that developer has yet to submit plans.

The project is expected to cause issues for patrons of the restaurants near the existing light because when vehicles leave the parking area west of the restaurants they will only be allowed to turn right out of the parking lot.

The project includes the bridge replacement, widening El Camino Real from San Dieguito Road to Via de la Valle and widening Via de la Valle from El Camino Real to El Camino Real North. Construction is estimated at $27 million.

This report has been updated since its original posting on Feb. 21.

 

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