Residents debate design on rapid transit bridge that will disect Chula Vista neighborhood

Bus route has been planned for years

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Chula Vista residents debated the design for a bridge that will essentially divide their neighborhood in two.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is building the South Bay Bus Rapid Transit Corridor from Otay Mesa to downtown San Diego. The TransNet-funded project will carry thousands from the border to the city on buses that will loop all day long.

A SANDAG spokesperson told 10News it will increase public transportation and cut down on traffic along the busy Interstate 805 corridor.

However, a handful of Chula Vista residents were disheartened by the fact that construction will begin in 2014. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), will travel north on the state Route 125 toll road, west through Chula Vista, and then north again on I-805.

"It'll be a high-speed option for people to get around," said SANDAG Director of Land Use and Transportation Plannine Charles "Muggs" Stoll.

The trip through Chula Vista, however, will dissect several neighborhoods and replace a heavily landscaped median with dedicated bus lanes.

At one point, the BRT will travel over SR-125 from the Otay Ranch Town Center into a neighborhood. The bridge into the neighborhood is the one part of the project that has residents concerned.

"My wife liked this place because it's so quiet and it's so nice and there's no noise," said Chula Vista resident Alberto Villarreal.

Villarreal's front door will be roughly 30 feet from the bridge when it is completed.

"Say goodbye to those people, to our neighbors," Villarreal said, pointing to the people who will eventually live on the other side of the bridge.

The project has been on the books for years, and homeowners were made aware of the design before the purchased their properties.

Stoll said the South Bay BRT is only a part of a much larger system of rapid transit corridors.

"There's also a rapid bus that's going to come from the Mid-City area along El Cajon and Park Boulevard and another one that's going to come down the I-15 corridor," Stoll said.

Residents weighed in on two designs for the bridge Tuesday. One design has the entire base walled off, and the other uses columns to support the bridge, leaving an open area underneath.

SANDAG will announce the final design October 22.

Construction will begin next year with the first buses carrying passengers no later than 2015.

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