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The San Diego City Council on November 1 approved an amended agreement with Simon Wong Engineering for services on the Georgia Street Bridge renovation. This will add an additional payment of $493,000, boosting the firm's total remuneration to $735,968.

The Georgia Street Bridge, spanning University Avenue, was completed in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria called the bridge a “cherished resource.” Caltrans has declared the bridge “functionally obsolete and seismically inadequate.”

The increased funding will pay for a seismic strategy report requested by Caltrans. The bridge has a “sufficiency rating” of 44.9 (on a 0-to-100 scale), according to a Caltrans document. Any bridge rated below 50 qualifies for federal replacement funding. Five bridge-modernization plans exist: two rehabilitation and three replacement proposals. Plans include lowering University Avenue.

Katherine Hon, secretary of the North Park Historical Society, commented by email: “Anything less than preservation of the bridge will be unacceptable to our organization. We support the additional seismic studies, and are hopeful that the detailed engineering work will result in development of successful strategies to preserve and protect this important landmark.”

Caltrans cited these bridge deficiencies: “non-standard barrier rails, non-standard approach guard railing, substandard inventory load rating (was not designed for modern vehicular loads), excessive asphalt on the bridge deck, substandard bridge width, and substandard vertical and horizontal clearance below the bridge.”

Take a walk around the Georgia Street Bridge...

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Founder Nov. 4, 2011 @ 8:20 a.m.

Lowering the roadway enough to provide trucks vertical clearance in the curb lanes would make the bridge even more impressive IMO...


Twister Nov. 5, 2011 @ 8:16 a.m.

Our streets and street signs are not designed and maintained for trucks, and crossfall from crowning causes many to have to park partly in the roadway to keep them from colliding with signs, trees, etc.


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 5, 2011 @ 11:12 a.m.

Thanks for posting thsat video, super cool. I had NO IDEA it was 97 years old!!!!!!


dwbat Nov. 5, 2011 @ 12:15 p.m.

Part of the project is to lower University Ave. underneath the bridge. That's easier than raising the bridge!


Twister Nov. 5, 2011 @ 3:42 p.m.

Easier, maybe, but whether or not it's the best option is another matter. Depending, for example, on how the structure is anchored, and the nature of the geologic strata in which, and around which, it is anchored. Engineering is in the details! And context is everything!!!


dwbat Nov. 6, 2011 @ 11:50 a.m.

My understanding is that the old trolley tracks are still down there underneath the pavement, so those might have to be removed. Engineering will be done to examine what's down there (including utilities that might be in the way).


Founder Nov. 9, 2011 @ 8:52 a.m.

The trolly tracks are under Univ. Ave (I have a 4 foot section of two different types taken from a section of Univ. Ave closer to 30th St. when they were installing some piping. There is also a 30" cast iron water main that leaks water like a sieve, which I believe is responsible for much of the sub surface water that makes NP's clay soil a nightmare to deal with...


dwbat Nov. 9, 2011 @ 9:46 a.m.

This is just one of the many aspects of the engineering contract:

"A potholing contractor working for SWE [Simon Wong Engineering] will attempt to locate existing utilities below the bridge. Potholes will be completed at 100-foot intervals between Florida Street and Park Boulevard (total of 8 potholes up to 6 feet deep). The potholing contractor will also attempt to locate the abandoned railroad tracks that are known to exist within University Avenue. A report will be generated with the results. The potholing contractor will provide traffic control as required to complete the work. City crews will survey the utilities exposed through potholing."


dwbat Nov. 9, 2011 @ 10:55 p.m.

Other engineering work includes "a detailed materials investigation for the arch ribs and abutment walls. Concrete testing will include compression, petrographic, and chloride profile per the following plan. Representative samples of steel reinforcement will be sampled at the abutments only and tested to evaluate their physical properties." Who knew this bridge-update project would be so complicated?


Founder Nov. 12, 2011 @ 7:58 a.m.

Old concrete structures (and especially old bridges) are very suspect when it comes to structural integrity! Take a look at the old concrete curbs that are falling apart in North Park, many of which were poured at the time that the bridge was constructed and you will get an idea of the "state of the art" of concrete at the turn of the last Century!


Founder Nov. 12, 2011 @ 8:03 a.m.

SWE [Simon Wong Engineering] would be well advised to get the field notes from the contractor that dug up the street near the Theater as they located the trolly tracks, of which I have a couple sections...

Michael Handal helped me save the NP Trolley rails, when they were uncovered on Univ. Ave. 5/28/08

Harry Nquyen (Pronounced "Win") was RE on the project (858) 627-3299.

Gus is owner of Contracting Co. (858) 583-1850


BobR Nov. 12, 2011 @ 8:32 a.m.

I recall that what to do with this bridge was being kicked around 10 years ago. Apparently the only thing that has happened in those 10 years is that the cost has most assuredly gone up.


Founder Nov. 12, 2011 @ 9:38 a.m.

I agree with you.

For too many decades, a majority of our City Leaders have focused on funding Stadiums, Giant pensions and other empire building projects for the Wealthy as payback for their help getting elected, instead of keeping our City in good repair!

BTW Nice avatar...


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2011 @ 10:25 a.m.

I hear you two-instead of fixing our landmarks, the officals are working on ways to fleece the people, by building billion dollar stadiums that no working man has a chance to ever go see a game at.


dwbat Nov. 12, 2011 @ 11:05 a.m.

Repairing our aging infrastructure is not "sexy" and it doesn't get the publicity and praise that a new stadium would (even though we don't need one). The original premise of redevelopment--removing blight and revitalizing dying neighborhoods--is sound, but there's been too much abuse and favoritism. That's not unusual, when $millions are being tossed around to developers and architects. But think about it: the Georgia Street Bridge is probably more important to residents of North Park than the expensive North Park Theatre renovation (where Lyric Opera is now broke and bankrupt).


Twister Nov. 12, 2011 @ 1:38 p.m.

Long has it been unfortunately true that emotions can be used to fleece taxpayers every which way but straight, piling one study upon another, finally coming to the conclusion that replacement is the only option, or even worse, that this is not determined until a "repair" is under way, which results in yet another contract to demolish and replace. But such merry-go-'rounds have long been a fixture of American politics. Don't just cover up incompetence--put it to work!


Founder Nov. 13, 2011 @ 11:32 a.m.

Add to that a small group of well connected local folks that in effect "populate and run" the planning comm.'s that serve to support the City Council person and you get what we now have in SD...

Foisted Government!


Twister Nov. 13, 2011 @ 7 p.m.

People who can distinguish bs from mother's milk are too few, but increasing slowly. The occupation of City Hall is a refreshing bit of light . . .


Founder Nov. 14, 2011 @ 6:48 a.m.

Let the Light IN... We have been kept in the DARK far too long!


dwbat Dec. 20, 2011 @ 12:55 p.m.

I went by the bridge today, and sidewalks on both sides underneath were closed, as preliminary work has started.


dwbat Feb. 11, 2015 @ 7:26 p.m.

The Georgia Street Bridge is all over the news, now that they're cutting trenches and holes in the pavement. In a few months, it looks like construction will finally begin.


dwbat Feb. 20, 2015 @ 6:23 p.m.

Here's a photo I shot today underneath the bridge.



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