Contracts for bridge upkeep sought


The county of San Diego will be issuing a contract for preventative maintenance on 14 bridges including one on Willow Road in Lakeside and one on Billy Mitchell Drive in unincorporated El Cajon.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 March 3 to authorize the advertisement for bid and subsequent award of a preventative maintenance contract. The bridges are eligible for Highway Bridge Program funding provided by the Federal Highway Administration, and the supervisors’ action also appropriated $2,655,900 of that federal funding for the maintenance work. Because the maintenance of existing bridges is unlikely to expand use, the county supervisors also found the project to be categorically exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review.

“Infrastructure maintenance and improvements are a core function of government. I’m pleased that the board took action to allocate $3 million to repair bridges throughout the unincorporated area,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond.

Because the work on the 14 bridges is similar the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW) proposed including all 14 in the contract to make the work more cost-efficient. The total estimated cost for the work is $3 million including contingency, and the county will use $344,100 of Highway User Tax Account revenue derived from the sales tax on gasoline along with the $2,655,900 Highway Bridge Program grant.

DPW maintains 262 bridges which provide access over waterways, valleys, or other obstacles. Characteristics such as state of repair conditions and total length (the bridge must be at least 20 feet long) make 208 of those bridges eligible for the Highway Bridge Program which funds 88.53 percent of the estimated cost. The Highway Bridge Program is administered through state transportation departments, and the California Department of Transportation identifies funding eligibility as part of the Caltrans biennial local agency bridge inspection program. The Caltrans bridge inspection reports are provided to DPW and include recommendations for preventative maintenance activity which is eligible for Highway Bridge Program funding.

Caltrans identified 14 County of San Diego bridges which need preventative maintenance including replacing damaged concrete to slow deterioration, sealing and resurfacing the bridge deck surfacing to prevent water infiltration of the concrete surface, and replacing bridge expansion joints. The 14 bridges included the bridges on Willow Road over San Vicente Creek and on Billy Mitchell Drive over the Forester Creek channel. The Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans approved funding for the design of the work in 2017, and funding for construction was approved last year.

All work will be performed within existing county right-of-way, so no right-of-way acquisition will be required. Prior to the start of construction signage, mailings, or notifications on doorknobs will be used to notify nearby residents and businesses. During construction, which is scheduled to begin in summer 2021 and be complete in early 2022, traffic control measures will be implemented to minimize the impacts to the community and the traveling public.

Contracts for bridge upkeep sought