A $6.8 million Santa Barbara city rehabilitation project aims to replace the almost century-old Ortega Street Bridge this May.Ortega is the second of six bridges being rebuilt as part of the Lower Mission Creek Restoration Plan — a project funded almost entirely by the Federal Highway Bridge Replacement Plan. Detours will be implemented in the area as a segment of the road between Bath and Castillo Streets may be closed for almost a year during construction.
Upgrades to the structure include a widened bridge, transitioned wall enhancements and drainage improvements.
John Ewasiuk, City of Santa Barbara principal civil engineer, said the restoration plan will also yield public works improvements such as crosswalk and creek development, improved pedestrian lighting and neighborhood water main replacement. Once the bridge is completed, the city plans to build a park at the corner of Ortega and Bath Streets.
“The project is a bridge replacement project similar to the one currently under construction at the Haley/De La Vina intersection in Santa Barbara,” Ewasiuk said.
Additionally, Assistant Public Works Director Pat Kelly said the bridge will be lengthened in conjunction with future channel improvement.
“The channel is a soft-bottom channel, such that it provides for the rehabilitation of the creek at that location [and] of existing fish pools that will be preserved for the endangered steelhead trout,” Kelly said. “All the work is being done in coordination with the biological opinion that was completed, that as part of not only the preservation of the fish passage. The creek bank restoration will also be included.”