Cabrillo Bridge retrofit project begins: Construction at Balboa Park to last until April

Bridge shut down to vehicle traffic

SAN DIEGO - A four-month shutdown of the iconic Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park to vehicle traffic began Thursday to accommodate a $38 million rehabilitation and retrofit project.

According to Caltrans, the work is being done to enhance the structural integrity of the 770-foot span, improve safety and bring it up current earthquake standards. Bridge accessibility will also be improved while the historically significant structure is preserved.

While a chain-link fence is up as a barrier to vehicles, one sidewalk is open to pedestrians and bicyclists.

"It's a landmark for San Diego," bicyclist Christopher Jones told 10News. "You come down (state Route) 163 and you see this beautiful bridge. People talk about it. When you tell them about the bridge, they know exactly which bridge you're talking about."

Bicycles will have to be walked across the span while work is underway.

"Having us walk out bikes is really easy. It's not a big deal having to walk a couple blocks just to get over here," said Jones.

The city of San Diego has started tram service to get people around Balboa Park. Museums and other cultural institutions around the west side of the park will remain open during the duration of the bridge project, which is scheduled through April 30.

"I love this bridge, it's a really nice bridge and I'm glad they're making improvements on it," said Jones, who has been biking across the bridge since 1999.

San Diego Museum of Art docent Jim Richter said, "Well, it's a cool old bridge."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, during his time as assistant secretary of the Navy, was in the first vehicle to cross the Cabrillo Bridge.

"It was put in for the Exposition in 1915, and it's a great remembrance of that time," said Richter.

Museums will stay open during construction.

For more information on the project:

http://www.balboapark.org/CabrilloBridgeRetrofit
http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist11/cabrillo/index.htm

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