San Diego-based senator seeks stronger safety measures on Coronado Bridge

Bill in CA Assembly moves to committee next
Posted at 7:33 AM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 15:40:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A bill working its way through the California Senate will increase safety measures on the Coronado Bay Bridge.

Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) introduced SB 480 this month, and added an amendment this week, to call for an unspecified amount of money to go towards maintenance costs and construction of safety barriers on the bridge.

"Safety is the ultimate goal," he told 10News.

The bill could take about a year to go into effect, and residents of Barrio Logan want faster results.

In October 2016, four people were killed at a rally under the bridge at Chicano Park after a truck plunged off the ramp and crushed them.

Police said the driver, Richard Sepolio, was drunk when he crashed. He's currently being held on $2 million bond awaiting trial.

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But the community can't wait any longer.

"We don't want a study; we want action," said Tommie Camarillo, head of the Chicano Park Steering Committee.

The group is impatient because about 73,000 cars pass over the bridge every day. There are two other known incidents of cars flying off the bridge onto the ground below -- both happened in 2004.

In addition to the car danger, it's also the third-deadliest suicide bridge in the United States.

While he waits for the bill to move forward, Hueso -- who represents the 40th Senate District -- has been working with Caltrans to improve safety on the bridge.

Hueso said Caltrans plans to add more signs and LED lights to the bridge that warns about safe driving. He also said reducing the speed limit is a possibility. They plan to add CHP patrols on the bridge during major events at Chicano Park.

"This tragic, tragic incident will result in improved safety," Hueso promised a crowd gathered at the park in the days after the crash.

The Transportation and Housing Committee will be the first to vote on the bill, but so far, that vote has not been scheduled.