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West Mission Bay Drive bridge replacement set to be complete this fall

West Mission Bay Drive Bridge Photo.png
The City of San Diego
Live shot of the West Mission Bay Drive Bridge Replacement Project, April 19, 2022.

A project to replace the old West Mission Bay Drive Bridge near Mission Beach is nearing completion, after being in the works for 25 years. The West Mission Bay Drive Bridge replacement is expected to be completed in October. It will have six vehicle lanes — adding one in each direction — to help with traffic and congestion in the area.

The majority of funding for the $150 million project came from a federal grant for bridges, the remainder is paid for by the city.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reporter David Garrick who recently wrote about the project, joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about what people can expect.

"The previous bridge was more functional, it looked like a concrete structure, and this has some elegance and some curves and some arc to it," Garrick said. "It's not quite as arced as the Coronado Bridge, but it does have some of that kind of arc in a smaller degree."

The new bridge will also have a 12-foot-wide shared pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"These people were smart when they built it on the western edge, which I think allows the views that people have to be pretty spectacular. There are benches for people to sit and enjoy the view and see this sort of panorama over there, which is really maybe San Diego's most iconic area, where the beaches come together over the ocean and the San Diego River," Garrick said.

The project broke ground in July 2018, but it has been in the works for 25 years, and was put on hold because of a lack of funding.

"The government works slowly. I guess after it was declared structurally deficient, there were a lot of questions about, 'Should we renovate it? Should we replace it?' SANDAG, the county's regional planning agency, at one point was considering a bus rapid transit station there that was later abandoned," Garrick said. "So 25 years ago they knew that it was deficient, but they didn't know where they would get the money to fix it or how to fix it. Once they had the money, they figured out how to fix it, and here we are now."