Sunday, November 18, 2007

County leaders to hear report on local bridges


Following the collapse of the I-35 West bridge in Minnesota, the structural integrity of bridges has received a renewed focus across the nation, so much so that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hear a report on the County’s 122 bridges tomorrow.
A large majority of County bridges, 96, are inspected by Caltrans through a federally mandated program every two years. The County inspects the remaining 26, all of which are less than 20 feet in length.

Seven local bridges have a “sufficiency rating,” an overall bridge health indicator, of less than 50. However, only three of those are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete — terms based on ratings of key bridge elements and conditions — and therefore eligible for replacement funding, County Director of Public Works Scott McGolpin wrote in his report.
“Overall, the County’s bridges are in very good condition,” McGolpin said. “…The [Public Works] department realizes that our bridge structures are a vital component to our transportation infrastructure and therefore we take a very proactive approach in maintaining our bridges.”
Of the two bridges deemed structurally deficient with a sufficiency rating below 50, one is set for partial replacement and seismic retrofit, largely funded by the federal Highway Bridge Program along with Measure D funds. A funding request for the other bridge is currently being developed.
The single bridge at a “functionally obsolete” level and a sufficiency rating of less than 50 is being replaced with federal and Measure D funds, McGolpin wrote. Sixty-one of the Caltrans-inspected bridges are currently at a sufficiency rating of 80 or greater, he added.
In addition to structural inspection, the County also has an ongoing seismic retrofit program. Caltrans has identified 12 local bridges as vulnerable to earthquakes, five of which have been replaced or retrofitted. The remaining seven are in various stages of retrofit, McGolpin said, also receiving federal and Measure D funds.
McGolpin also took the opportunity to warn the Board of Supervisors of the consequences that will arise should voters not renew Measure D, a local tax levied for transportation projects, before its March 2010 sunset.
“If Measure D is not renewed at the current level to local agencies or a replacement funding source is not identified, we will not be able to replace, rehabilitate or perform necessary maintenance on our bridge structures,” he wrote. “This could result in the posting of weight limits on some structures and the closure of others.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to know what some of these bridges are