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Plan To Replace West Mission Bay Drive Bridge Will Go Before City Council

The City of San Diego Administration Building is shown in this undated photo.

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: The City of San Diego Administration Building is shown in this undated photo.

A plan nearly two decades in the making to replace the decrepit West Mission Bay Drive bridge over the San Diego River is scheduled to go before the City Council Monday.

The $155 million project would replace the 1950 four-lane bridge that connects the Midway area and Mission Bay Park with two three-lane bridges. Up to $140 million of that would come from federal grants. The remainder would be paid for by the city.

The existing structure is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete by the state Department of Transportation. The city began planning its replacement in 2000 when it hired T.Y. Lin International to complete a feasibility study.

The bridge cannot adequately handle the amount of traffic that travels on it from Sports Arena Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive, which are each six lanes, and the I-8 freeway, according to state and city documents. It's designed to handle 40,000 daily trips, though daily traffic volumes exceeded 64,000 vehicles during a 2009 city study.

The new bridge would improve congestion in the area. It would reduce wait times at nearby intersections by up to two minutes, according to the traffic study.

It would also improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and access. Planned are 12-foot wide multi-use paths on each of the new bridges. The existing bridge has very narrow paths on either side.

City officials have selected Kleinfelder Construction Services to manage the project. If approved by the council, construction work on the project would be put out to bid.

Construction is expected to take two years. Two lanes of traffic will remain open over the river during the project, according to documents.

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