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Update: State Calls Bridge ‘Structurally Safe,’ Says Report Is Flawed

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The Coronado Bridge.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. Tuesday, with Caltrans response.

State transportation officials are denying reports that the San Diego-Coronado Bridge is “structurally deficient,” arguing that a $375,000 project last year corrected issues brought up in a national analysis of bridge safety.

The city had asked Caltrans Tuesday to respond to a private group's criticism of the bridge's fitness.

The bridge, part of state Route 75, was one of more than 65,000 bridges and overpasses in the country found to be in need of repair by Transportation for America, a group that lobbies for more investment in the nation's highway and transit systems. 

As part of the state highway system, the bridge is managed by Caltrans, not the city.

Cathryne Bruce-Johnson, of Caltrans, said a July 2012 maintenance project repaired cracks in the Coronado bridge deck, or the roadway that motorists travel upon.

She also argued that the “structurally deficient” label does not mean a bridge is immediately unsafe, but that it qualifies for federal funding for projects as minor as painting.

The state evaluates the need for maintenance, she said, based on biannual inspections and engineering analyses.

The Transportation for America report had posted low scores for the Coronado bridge deck, but said the overal structure of the span was sound.

The southerly link to state Route 75, over Palm Avenue at Interstate 5, also was found to be in need of repair. The state did not note any issues with criticism of that stretch of road.

City officials, in a statement, had earlier said Coronado was seeking a written response from the state about the transportation coalition's analysis of the bridge, which was included in a report on the ABC news program 20/20 last week.

The city does not make decisions regarding bridge maintenance, but officials and council members have received multiple queries since the report aired.

They, however, according to the statement, are “keenly aware of the importance of the bridge not only to our community, but to visitors, business owners and Coronado's number one employer, the Navy.”

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