Construction on the new, wider, and seismically enhanced Cabrillo Boulevard Bridge at the mouth of the city’s waterfront should begin next month now that the Santa Barbara City Council approved an $18 million spending package to get the job — first hatched in 2004 — done. The new bridge will feature wider boulevard sidewalks and a wider span allowing greater water flows during storm events. Of the $18 million, $15 million will go to Lash Construction for actual construction, but considerable work will be done widening the creek itself while restoring native vegetation and removing invasive species.
Construction will occur in three phases and the first phase will last only a month. In deference to the federally endangered steelhead trout and tidewater goby, construction can take place only between May and November. During Phase I, traffic will not be re-channeled. During the second two phases, traffic on Cabrillo will be reduced to one lane of traffic in either direction. At the same time, however, construction is also expected to be heating up on the Entrada development by State and Mason streets. And the Mason Street bridge will replaced as well.
Construction on the Cabrillo bridge is expected to conclude by October 2016. In the meantime, lower State Street will be ground zero for multiple construction projects. To keep the public informed, City Hall has allocated $200,000 to hire a private public outreach firm. In addition, it’s allocated another $300,000 for environmental monitoring. The total cost of the project is estimated at $26.7 million; of that, $22.5 million will be provided by the Federal Highway Authority. The rest will come out of city coffers.