Does San Diego Have a Bridge Problem?

San Diego bridges compare favorably, report finds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    When it comes to the condition of roadway bridges, San Diego County's could use some improvement.

    But a new study released this week also shows that local motorists are a lot better off in that respect than those who drive elsewhere.

    The 78-year-old bridge on North Torrey Pines Road is one of the most glaring local examples found deep in the data gathered by Transportation for America, a nonprofit groups that studies roadway infrastructure issues in the nation's 102 "metropolitan" areas.

    San Diego's Troubled Bridges

    [DGO] San Diego's Troubled Bridges
    There are 79 bridges throughout the San Diego County, according to Transportation for America, a nonprofit group that studies roadway infrastructure in the nation's 102 "metropolitan" areas

    Fortunately, a $13 million upgrade project began about a year ago.

    In the South Bay area, the connector from eastbound Highway 54 to northbound I-805 also was among the local roadway bridges deemed "structurally deficient."

    This means it needs "more frequent monitoring and critical, near-term maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement," the report says.

    Not a comforting thought to people who often travel that stretch.

    "It terrifies me to know that one day, something's going to happen," said National City resident Yolanda Trinidad, after being told of the study findings Thursday. "Because it's happened before."

    Said Paradise Hills resident Gloria Shell-Williams: "I will speak to friends and relatives about the bridge, because my son travels on it a lot. It's something to be concerned about."

    CalTrans officials say the bridges are all seismically sound -- either retrofitted or built to standards developed after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the Bay Area, and the Northridge earthquake in the Los Angeles area in 1994.

    The bridges also are inspected every two years, receiving whatever maintenance the engineers recommend.

    "Anything we have is not maintenance-free," CalTrans spokesman Ed Cartagena said in an interview Thursday. "So our crews are out there every single day working on our roadways, working on our bridges, working on our landscaping."

    According to the study, San Diego County has the 10th lowest percentage of "structural deficient" bridges among the nation's 29 metro areas with populations over 2 million.

    The Bay Area has the second highest, behind Pittsburgh.

    Thirty-nine metro areas with populations of 500,000 to 1 million have higher bridge deficiency percentages than San Diego County's.

    See how the bridges in your zip code rank on the Transportation for America website.