ARROYO GRANDE, CALIFORNIA – The Bridge Street Bridge is now open. On March 12, 2021, the City held a ribbon cutting and reopened the historic Bridge Street Bridge. The Bridge was closed for rehabilitation in June 2020 after the City Council approved a contract with Granite Construction, Inc. for the Bridge Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project. During construction activities, the work performed included removal of the bridge over Arroyo Grande Creek and placement of a temporary bridge to the west of Bridge Street Bridge for non-motorized access over the creek.
The project, funded through a federal grant, consisted of rehabilitating the existing historic trusses, removing the existing supplemental truss below the deck and replacing it with a stronger supplemental truss, and replacing the existing abutments and center pier. The Bridge now meets present day standards for weight limits and seismic loading and provides protection for the historic trusses from vehicle impact while maintaining the historic feel of The Village area.
The Bridge Street Bridge was built in 1908 to replace an old wooden structure crossing Arroyo Grande Creek. The Bridge provided the only vehicle crossing of the creek in Arroyo Grande until the Traffic Way Bridge was built in 1932. The Bridge survived several major floods before the construction of Lopez Dam in 1969, including floods caused by record breaking rain in 1914 which washed out the soil from behind the bridge’s south abutment which led to the construction of a new 25-ft section.
In 1989, a vehicle crashed into one of the bridges trusses causing severe damage. A supplemental truss was installed under the deck to carry the weight of vehicles as well as the weight of the original trusses and the bridge was posted with a 3-ton weight limit.
In 1997, as part of the Caltrans biennial bridge inspection, structural and seismic deficiencies were noted that would need to be corrected in order for the bridge to receive a re-evaluation for a revised weight limit.
In 2010, the City applied and was approved to receive 100% federal funding based on preliminary cost estimates. Over the next nine years, City staff and its consultant team worked diligently with the project stakeholders group and the community to understand priorities and vision for the bridge. The outcome was the elimination of the replacement alternative, environmental clearance and permits, procurement of temporary construction easements, completed construction drawings, and additional funding based on engineering cost estimates.
In 2019, the rehabilitation project was put out to bid and in February 2020, the City Council awarded a construction contract. City staff applied for additional federal grant funding and was successful in securing the full project amount of $8.7M.
This project faced many challenges such as an extremely small work area, constructing over an active creek, and being located in the middle of The Village. To add to the complexity, there were unforeseen challenges such as very determined nesting birds despite early tree trimming and removal, and on-going construction activities, numerous revisions to critical structural steel shop drawings, and constructing in the midst of a global pandemic.
“We are excited for our City to have a new bridge that can safely accommodate all vehicular, pedestrian and bike transportation with the familiar green trusses and wooden sidewalks back in place. They once again provide a unique and welcoming entrance to the historic Village of Arroyo Grande,” stated Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director, Bill Robeson.
Staff, project team members, and community leaders celebrated with a ribbon cutting and bridge opening ceremony Friday, March 12th. The ceremony concluded with a first-car-to-cross procession consisting of vehicles from Public Works, Police and Fire. The ceremony was also streamed live on the city’s Facebook page and video will be available on the City’s website at www.arroyogrande.org.
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Bill Robeson, Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director
View the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony