6 Days Before Primary Incumbent Zapf Does Photo Op for New Bridge to Help SeaWorld Traffic

by on May 30, 2018 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

Screen grab of animated video.

Incumbent city councilwoman Lorie Zapf – running hard to keep her seat – joined Mayor Faulconer today, May 30, just 6 days before the June Primary, for a major photo op announcing a set of new bridges whose construction will begin later this summer.

The bridges will replace the existing West Mission Bay Drive bridge which stretches across San Diego River, and will help to improve traffic flow to SeaWorld and the beach communities.

The current West Mission Bay Drive bridge is one of the primary arteries funneling people and cars to the entrance of SeaWorld, just a couple thousand feet away from the end of the bridge. Plus SeaWorld money will help pay for it.

Both Faulconer and Zapf want to improve their images before the public; Faulconer just released his city budget – and touts it as “the largest infrastructure investment in San Diego history”, so he wants to appear like he’s down on infrastructure, baby – and the two new, 3-lane bridges that will replace the old 1950s, 4-lane bridge will prove it.

Zapf is running against a handful of strong challengers – mostly Democrats – and is in a district with a Democratic Party numerical advantage. She’s also fighting against claims she’s been dodging local town council candidate forums. So, she definitely wants to appear stately like infrastructure is near and dear to her. Especially now, less than a week before the balloting.

The new project will supposedly cost $110 million, with its funding from a variety of sources, including $4.9 million from Sea World traffic mitigation, $91.5 million from a Federal Highway Administration grand fund, and $13.5 million from a Transnet Extension fee.

The new bridges will also have a protected bike bath on both spans.

In a press release, Mayor Faulconer said:

“This bridge replacement project is a perfect example as we modernize and expand one of our busiest roadways to ensure that San Diegans and visitors have easy access to our world-class beaches.”

He should have also included SeaWorld in that list. Let’s help the visitors have easy access to our own SeaWorld. Afterall, the city and Faulconer’s budget benefits from good attendance figures at the controversial park whose visitor numbers are crashing (nearly 9% drop over the last 2 years). Let’s at least help them up with better traffic flow.

Here’s some interesting factoids about the bridge reconstruction:

The use of a unique construction method will leave traffic on the existing bridge uninterrupted for the duration of the project. A temporary staging and construction bridge will be built next to the northbound side of the bridge, which will hold the construction equipment needed to build the new three-lane northbound bridge. Crews will then place structural supports deep into the ground (between the existing bridge and temporary construction bridge), and build the new bridge roadway on top of the supports.

Once the northbound bridge is completed, the temporary bridge will be removed from the northbound side, and rebuilt along the southbound side to repeat the process.

And here’s a nifty cartoon video timeline of the reconstruction of the bridge.

The Primary is June 5.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Noam Sayn May 30, 2018 at 1:46 pm

The supertitle at the end of the animation presents the “Finnish Bridge Construction”.(sic) Does this “unique” construction method originate in Finland? But seriously folks –
a lot of these traffic chokepoints along Sea World Drive would be mitigated if CalTrans would only “Finnish” the 5-8 interchange allowing westbound travel onto 8 West from 5 and northbound travel from 8 East to 5 North. Clearly some major lobbying took place to force more traffic to use SEA WORLD Drive… Noam Sayn?

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Avatar GJ May 30, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Does this video image look like the additional lanes on the new bridge construction merge into fewer lanes once the traffic crosses over to Sea World Drive? If so, this merge creates a bottleneck on Sea World drive leading to the Sea World entrance.

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Avatar Peter from South O June 1, 2018 at 10:49 am

Construction animation with end point improvement for your viewing enjoyment https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/west_mission_bay_drive_bridge_-_construction_animation_0.mp4
At the end (after the tiny little crane stops dancing) a bigger Sea World Drive intersection magically blossoms.

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Avatar Val May 31, 2018 at 11:53 am

So they’re widening the bridge, but nothing else? The bridge will still pipe onto the same street, causing more traffic. This makes no sense.

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Avatar OBCliffhanger June 1, 2018 at 9:40 am

Wonder of wonders. A photo opportunity and Ms. Zapf makes an appearance. Sorry, I meant to say, “Lorie Zapf, Environmentalist”. Right.

And, I agree with Val. Without accounting for traffic flow on either end of the bridge, a wider bridge just lets more cars be stuck ON THE BRIDGE. Genius!

And we should have all this funding going to a failing SeaWorld business because…? When SeaWorld continues to decline we’ll have a nice, expensive, wide bridge to nowhere. Let SeaWorld’s current business die the death it has shown it deserves, or else shrink back to a meaningful environmental and research role, and the traffic congestion will be solved very cheaply. Ms. Zapf can get a new job working as an environmentalist at that kind of SeaWorld after the election.

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