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After nearly three years of construction, the $26.8 million Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge, connecting Petco Park to the convention center, opened to foot traffic on Friday, March 18. The 550-foot-long suspension bridge lies at the intersection of Harbor Drive and Park Boulevard and passes over six lanes of traffic and multiple train lines. The Public Utilities Commission required the bridge after streets were reconfigured around Petco Park.

However, the project did have its share of hang-ups since construction began in October 2008. In 2005, the total cost was estimated to be just under $13 million. And despite the increased price tag, construction delays occurred. The completion date had been set for November of 2009 but was delayed after the bridge was built heavier than initially planned, requiring crews to install new suspension cables.

CCDC oversaw the project and was the largest funding source, paying $11.1 million in redevelopment funds. Other sources included Caltrans, as well as some state and federal funding sources.

"With its important proximity to the waterfront, convention center, Petco Park, and Gaslamp Quarter, the bridge should be iconic as well as functional," was the statement from CCDC.

Iconic as it may be, the opening occurred with little fanfare. Within an hour after the announcement from CCDC, only a few people could be seen traversing the 16-foot wide suspension bridge.

CCDC says special activities are planned for the San Diego Padres first home game on April 5.

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SurfPuppy619 March 19, 2011 @ 1:06 p.m.

After nearly three years of construction, the $26.8 million Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge, connecting Petco Park to the convention center, opened to foot traffic on Friday, March 18

I would like to shoot whoever is responsible for greenlighting this white elephant bridge to nowhere.

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Ken Harrison March 20, 2011 @ 2:01 p.m.

The horrible act is not that it was approved - that's what government does - spend money, wise or not -but the crime is the firms that constructed it, the ones responsible for $15 mil cost overrun. There will be no penalty or accountability at all. These firms will be allowed to bid again on other government projects.

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BlueSouthPark March 20, 2011 @ 7:36 p.m.

CCDC spokesperson Joyce Sumner attended the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee meeting on March 9. She announced that the bridge would open on Tuesday, March 15 "to no fanfare." When asked by a Planning Committee member about the cost, she said she did not know...suggesting that "CCDC had put in $9 million, and she thought the total cost was around $20 million."

Actually, the bridge did appear to be in use all day on Tuesday, March 15, the same day that the San Diego Unified School District layoff notices went out. Guess that was a bad day to announce a $27 million bridge-to-nowhere opening.Maybe that is why the U-T's Showley waited until Friday to post an official "bridge now open" story????

I want to know why Sumner professed ignorance of the costs at the Planning meeting. The CCDC website has the total cost summary. Come back to Golden Hill next month, Joyce. Someone may ask you to explain your data deficit. I might add that rightwing KUSI had the story on Friday, and reported the cost to be $11 million! Our own Fox-light channel!

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BlueSouthPark March 20, 2011 @ 8:25 p.m.

Kudos to The Reader journalist Hargrove for mentioning a long-forgotten bit of info about the PUC. It led to me discover this interesting San Diego Business Journal story from Sep 2007: http://www.sdbj.com/news/2007/sep/10/rising-price-of-harbor-drive-pedestrian-bridge/

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Visduh March 20, 2011 @ 8:51 p.m.

None of the previous postings directed special attention to the fact that CCDC ponied up $11.1 million "in redevelopment funds." For those who do not understand, those are public funds that could have been spent for projects that benefit local residents, rather than tourists and the tourism/convention center/downtown cabal.

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BlueSouthPark March 21, 2011 @ 11:23 a.m.

Exactly, Visduh. Those are property tax dollars that were retained by CCDC, instead of being distributed into the general services pool of property tax dollars. The limited-use bridge, built in a time of dire budget needs, is what you get when a private organization is allowed to keep and control general property taxes.

It doesn't matter if anyone thinks the bridge is useful to a few people, or if it's architecturally interesting. It's irresponsible to buy expensive toys when you can't pay for basics. The dire economic picture was clear when this bridge was first cost-analyzed 5 years ago.

Reckless. Feckless. Selfish. Self-serving.

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SanDiegoParrothead March 23, 2011 @ 12:28 p.m.

C'mon people. We all know that the main (er, only) purpose of this bridge is to bring the people going to the Padres game over from that parking structure across the street.

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