Jobs will be created and the economy revitalized, asserted Congressmember Salud Carbajal in announcing $4.25 billion headed to California for bridge repair from the federal infrastructure bill passed in November 2021. First to be targeted are bridges rated to be in “poor” condition, 30 of which are in Santa Barbara County, according to the InfoBridge database on Tuesday.
Eleven of the bridges are along Highway 101 from Bailard Avenue in Carpinteria to State Route 135 in the Santa Ynez Valley. At least four of them cross Mission Creek in the City of Santa Barbara. The oldest bridge — where Mission Creek runs under De la Vina Street — dates to 1916, and the newest was built in 2005 along Goleta’s San Pedro Creek, which parallels Fairview Avenue, at Matthews Road.
“We promised to make long-overdue investments in our dilapidated infrastructure, and I am proud to say we delivered,” Carbajal said. The infrastructure bill, however, is the only Biden initiative to pass a deadlocked Senate. Nonetheless, Carbajal, who is a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said, “I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill across the finish line.”
[Update: Feb. 11, 2022] Of the four bridges that cross Mission Creek, Santa Barbara has plans in the works for De la Vina Street and Islay Street using federal Highway Bridge Program funding. Such projects take five years to complete or longer, and the funding has required cities to front millions of dollars before being reimbursed, which is very difficult for small cities, explained Ashleigh Shue, interim city engineer for Santa Barbara: “We are encouraged that the state is set to receive a large influx of funding for bridge replacements, and we are well positioned to take advantage of any additional funding made available to us.”