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Navy Traffic on Coronado Bridge

The City of Coronado is considering reinstating tolls on the Coronado Bridge to pay for ways to relieve traffic congestion. Much of the increased congestion on the island is due to Navy expansion. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

More than 80,000 cars cross the Coronado Bridge on a typical work day, and when both aircraft carriers are in port, that often swells to 90,000, creating back ups onto Interstate 5 at peak hours. The arrival next year of a 3rd aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, could generate about 5,000 more trips a day.

Coronado’s Director of Engineering, Ed Walton, says the city is considering various options, including a new tunnel, and one way to finance that could be a new toll of up to $5. Walton says the Navy has said they want to help solve increasing traffic gridlock but hasnt's come up with any specific offers.

"They had mentioned there is this Defense Access fund, which is for strategic growth for military bases that’s available."Walton says "They looked at that in terms of doing some of their mitigation measures for spot improvements at specific intersections, but they haven’t come forth and said the military can contribute x number of dollars."

The Navy says in a statement quote,“While the Navy may have inputs to the Environmental Impact process at some point, it is premature to comment on potential decisions the lead government agencies may make.”

More than 60% of peak hour traffic on Coronado Bridge is to and from Naval Air Station North Island.

The city will decide how to go about mitigating traffic gridlock next year. It will take state legislation to enact a new toll.

Alison St John, KPBS news.

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