SAN DIEGO — Tens of millions of dollars will go to the City of San Diego to improve an aging bridge near the border.
“The US Department of Transportation will invest $24 million from the department’s bridge investment program to help repair, rehabilitate and reimagine the Palm Avenue Interstate 805 bridge to serve motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced Thursday.
As part of the Biden administration’s Investing In America agenda, the White House announced $300 million in funding for nine major bridge projects across the U.S., including funds for upgrading the 50-year-old Palm Avenue bridge, which connects the Otay Mesa West and Nestor communities in South San Diego.
The upgrade project will aim to improve the safety and reliability of the bridge, which Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Andrew Rogers called “woefully out-of-date.”
“The result will be a bridge that’s safer for all, less congestion, fewer delays, and lower long-term maintenance costs,” said Rogers.
Bridge congestion is a top concern with around 38,000 vehicles crossing daily. Some residents say it’s getting worse with new housing in the area.
“Our Palm Avenue is so congested and it’s falling apart from overuse of cars and I’m hoping that this will help alleviate some of the traffic and make our flow much better,” said Dotty Giffen, Otay Mesa Advisory Board President.
Upgrades will include widening the bridge, making more room for vehicles, bikes and pedestrians. It will also be seismically retrofitted to withstand earthquakes.
Caltrans project director Karen Jewel says signal lights will also be replaced.
“They’re going to be interconnected so that the vehicles coming off of the ramps can go right through the bridge rather than having to stop at two different signals before they keep going,” said Jewel.
Caltrans expects to start construction in spring of 2024 and will likely take a year and a half to complete.