The bridge at Lake Los Carneros suffers from rotted support posts, and the structure will be removed. Funding to replace it has yet to be secured. | Credit: City of Goleta

The old bridge that traverses the reeds and shallows of Lake Los Carneros began to shiver underfoot about two years ago, and examinations of its undersides showed serious rot in the posts sunk into the muddy bottom of the lake. Built about 30 years ago, the wooden bridge — popular with children and adults for its display of the aquatic world it spanned — was closed as the city began to make plans to retire it.

“We get calls and emails from folks all the time, asking what’s happening with the bridge,” said George Thomson, who runs parks and open spaces for the City of Goleta. The plan is to remove it carefully, as it’s in the middle of an environmentally sensitive wetland, and then either restore the area or replace the bridge. Either way, it’s expensive — and money is tight for the city, which its Measure B sales tax proposal hopes to remedy.

Removal alone could cost as much as a half million, said Thomson, in part for the planning needed for the permitting to allow heavy equipment into the lake. To replace it will take more than $2 million, he estimated, to design, fund, and construct the new bridge, possibly in 2023.

The work to rebuild the bridge is as yet unfunded, though grants may be available as the new bridge would serve the wider community as a free and accessible “window into the wonders of Lake Los Carneros,” as Thomson calls it.

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