Del Mar closer to work on North Torrey Pines Bridge
In a significant step toward seismically retrofitting the North Torrey Pines Bridge, the Del Mar City Council unanimously allocated more than $6 million to two construction-consulting firms that will put the bridge on a path to reconstruction this year.
Paid for entirely by state and federal funds, the project will be vetted by T.Y. Lin International and Simon Wong as the city puts out requests for proposals for the actual construction.
The bridge, which has stood for more than 75 years, is at risk of failing in the event of a major earthquake. This project, estimated to cost more than $36 million, will retain the bridge’s historic look but enhance its safety features.
“I actually got kind of choked up about this; this has been going on forever,” Councilwoman Crystal Crawford said. “Our predecessor City Council first designated the North Torrey Pines Bridge as a local historic structure in 1996 and that began this odyssey to preserve this very unique bridge and unique piece of architecture.”
Public Works Director David Scherer said the city hopes to start construction by September. While there will be some nighttime closures of the bridge, Scherer said temporary bridges would be built to maintain traffic flow.
There are no plans to increase the amount of lanes on the North Torrey Pines Bridge and the driver experience should not change once construction is completed, Scherer said.
“It will all look just the same,” he said.
Scherer said the project will be paid for entirely by federal and Proposition 1B state funds, which allocate money specifically for this purpose of seismic retrofitting.
Although the bridge crosses the city limit between Del Mar and San Diego, the cities agreed in 2002 to transfer the entire property to Del Mar for this project.
T.Y. Lin and Simon Wong are civil engineering and structural engineering firms that specialize in planning, design and inspection of transportation projects. T.Y. Lin will manage and monitor the construction process before, during and after completion, while Simon Wong will provide support services throughout. Scherer said it was important that two independent firms handle these separate tasks.
Crawford said the day construction begins will be a cause for celebration.
“We still have to put a shovel in the dirt and invite a lot of people who have worked on this to join us for that, but it truly will be a red-letter day when we actually start this project,” she said.
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