A major transportation infrastructure project near San Diego’s Mission Beach area reached a milestone Tuesday: it's now halfway complete, on its way to its goal of easing traffic congestion in a busy zone.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria unveiled the completion of the first phase of the West Mission Bay Drive Bridge Project – a $135 million project underway since July 2018.
If you’re driven on Interstate 8 and taken the West Mission Bay Drive exit over the past couple of years, you’ve likely seen the massive construction area over the bridge. The project is located on West Mission Bay Drive between I-8 and SeaWorld Drive, about 1.25 miles west of the I-8 and Interstate 5 interchange. The area connects Loma Portal and Midway District neighborhoods with SeaWorld, Mission Bay Park, and beach areas.
The project will replace the existing four-lane West Mission Bay Drive Bridge – which was built in the 1950s and features only two travel lanes north and southbound (four lanes total) – with two separate, three-lane structures, for a total of six lanes. The city said this will provide an “improved transportation link across the San Diego River.”
According to the city, once the project is completed, the improvements will include:
- Two new parallel bridge structures with three travel lanes in each direction
- A class 1 bike path on both bridges
- Roadway widening and improvements along Sports Arena Boulevard, West Mission Bay Drive and the westbound I-8 off-ramp
- Additional architectural features
- Environmental mitigation
The City of San Diego Tuesday said the project is now halfway complete. The target date to full completion is mid-2022. You can read all about the project – and see a live cam of the progress – here.
Starting this Wednesday, though, some vehicle traffic will open on the newly constructed replacement bridge. Gloria’s office said motorists will begin to be diverted onto the new bridge to allow the old bridge to be safely demolished.
Materials from the demolition will be recycled and reused in other capacities, the city said.
Gloria said the wrapping up of phase 1 will already help ease traffic in the area, which gets busy when San Diegans are heading to local beaches.
“I am thrilled to open this new bridge that will ease traffic congestion in a heavily traveled part of our city and ultimately provide bicyclists and pedestrians a safe and environmentally friendly way to cross the San Diego River,” Gloria said. “This new bridge is going to make life easier for residents in our coastal communities, especially during busy summer months.”
According to the city, traffic volume has greatly increased since the old West Mission Bay Drive Bridge was built 70 years ago. The replacement project accommodates that growth in San Diego.
In addition to the new vehicle traffic lanes, the new version of the bridge will include a 12-foot-wide shared path for pedestrians and people riding bikes, scooters or other modes of transportation.
San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell also said Tuesday the project is “a big step in reducing traffic, increasing safety and creating better options for the residents in our beach communities to move around."
The city said improvements will also be made to widen the westbound I-8 off-ramp and nearby Sports Arena Boulevard. The city said the project is fully funded.
More renderings and details can be seen here.