Press Release

Seismic Retrofit of Local Bridges

Date: May 7, 2003 (3:47pm)

Release: Immediately

Contact: Dinah Phillips

Public Information Officer


Supervisor Ellen Pirie, Chair of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, announced today that the County Department of Public Works has completed a fully funded seismic retrofit of fourteen County bridges just prior to the elimination of the funding source.

In response to the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, the State initiated a seismic retrofit program using State and Federal funds. Under this program, 100% of Counties' design and construction costs were reimbursable.

The Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works and Caltrans evaluated all Santa Cruz County maintained bridges and determined that fourteen bridges required seismic upgrades and one should be completely replaced. Over the past seven years, the Department of Public Works has been working on these seismic retrofits and has now completed thirteen projects. These include the bridges on Mount Hermon Road, Bear Creek Road, Irwin Way, Conference Drive, Soquel Drive in Aptos, Soquel Drive in Soquel, Aptos Overhead, Bear Creek Bridge, Swanton Road, Larkspur Street, Either Way Lane and two bridges on East Zayante Road. The bridge on Valencia Creek is currently under construction and will be completed this Summer. The last bridge, on Kings Creek Road, will be completely replaced by Summer 2004.

Due to budget constraints, the California State Department of Finance has frozen all current year allocations for the seismic retrofit of local bridges, and the funding is slated for elimination in the 2003-04 State budget. At this time, only half of California's local bridges eligible for this program have been seismically retrofitted.

Supervisor Pirie added, "Because of the County's aggressive efforts to retrofit local bridges, Santa Cruz County is one of the few jurisdictions that will not be severely impacted by the loss of funding for this critical program I am very pleased that the County has taken these steps to protect the safety of our community."

For further information, please contact the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works' Design Engineer Bill Williamson at (831) 454-2160.