County approves funding for Bradley Avenue widening

Photo by Mary York. Counter-demonstrators stand outside El Cajon Valley High School at the corner of Madison near Mollison on Monday morning, March 25, 2019, in response to picketers from Westboro Baptist Church.

It is a rocky road for El Cajon residents living on or commuting across Bradley Avenue right now. The section of the road between Mollison Avenue and Magnolia Avenue will be under construction as the County works to widen the street to four lanes.

The widening of Bradley Avenue will involve both the County of San Diego and the California Department of Transportation since the project involves the interchange with State Route 67 as well as the county road in unincorporated El Cajon. That required a cooperative agreement between the county and Caltrans, which was approved during the Oct. 30 San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The supervisors’ 5-0 vote also appropriated $375,000 into the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget of the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW) and found that the cooperative agreement itself is categorically exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review.

“The agreement is the next important step for the project,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

The project will replace the Bradley Avenue bridge over Highway 67, widen the freeway ramps, and widen Bradley Avenue between Magnolia Avenue and Mollison Avenue.

“This is a project that will relieve traffic congestion,” Jacob said.

The project is currently in the design phase.  Segment 1 is within the Caltrans right-of-way and will replace the bridge, increase Bradley Avenue from two lanes to six, and improve the on-ramps and off-ramps.

Segment 2 is within the county right-of-way and will widen Bradley Avenue east of the bridge between Graves Avenue and Mollison Avenue.

A cooperative agreement to complete environmental documents and a project report defining the project and initiating the improvements was approved in April 2007.  Caltrans reviewed the initial design but discontinued the work in 2011 due to the lack of construction funding. New funding was programmed for the project in 2016, and Caltrans requested a new cooperative agreement establishing Caltrans and county roles for the first segment.

The cooperative agreement includes a $975,000 payment to Caltrans to cover the review of project plans being developed by DPW.  The county’s 2019-20 budget had already included $600,000 for that expense, and the additional $375,000 appropriation utilizes TransNet funding derived from the quarter-cent sales tax for transportation.

An additional estimated cost of $4.8 million will fund the administration of the construction contract.  The total estimated construction cost for Segment 1 is $17.8 million and the estimated construction cost for Segment 2 is $7.8 million.

The construction is expected to begin in spring 2022 and be complete in late 2023. Future budget processes will appropriate the county’s expenses for administration and construction.