California Department of Transportation District 11 & San Diego & Imperial Counties

District 11

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013

Contact: Caltrans Public Information Officer Cathryne Bruce-Johnson

Phone: (619) 688-6670


Caltrans Urges Motorists to Plan Ahead for December Nights Celebration in Balboa Park

SAN DIEGO – Caltrans and the city of San Diego are urging motorists to allow extra time when heading to this year’s December Nights celebration in Balboa Park on Dec. 6 and 7.  Construction crews are currently working on rehabilitation and seismic retrofit project for the iconic Cabrillo Bridge and traffic may slow more than usual as motorists pass the work site on State Route 163.

“There is a great deal of coordination involved to make sure that access to the festival is provided during this major infrastructure improvement project,” said Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman.  “The focus is to provide a safe environment for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and our highway workers, with an eye on completing the project in a short time frame and ahead of the Balboa Park 2015 Centennial Celebration.”

Temporary safety measures for this important project have been installed very close to the roadway.  These measures are necessary to protect the bridge and construction crews as work progresses.  They may also contribute to some additional traffic slowing along the freeway during the December Nights celebration.

Alternative routes to the celebration include using Interstate 5 to 10th Avenue or B Street and then using Park Boulevard to return to Balboa Park.

According to city of San Diego spokesperson Bill Harris, shuttle and other bus services will be available from lots outside the park area and pedestrians may use the Laurel Street/Cabrillo Bridge entrance from the west side of the park.   Harris stated that as in years past, the bridge will be closed to cars during celebration hours.

Caltrans began work to improve the Cabrillo Bridge in October. The $38 million rehabilitation and retrofit project will bring the bridge up to current earthquake safety standards and will include repaving along the roadway leading into Balboa Park.  The improvement plan ensures that the historic bridge structure and surrounding areas are protected as the work progresses.  The project is expected to be complete in summer 2014.

From January 2, through April 30, access across the bridge will be limited to pedestrians and bicyclists. Vehicles will not be allowed across the bridge during that time.  Caltrans will also occasionally implement late night lane closures along State Route 163.  Notices for both traffic control efforts will be placed on routes leading to the work site well in advance of any closure.

For more information on this and other state transportation projects, log on to  Real-time construction and traffic information is also available on Twitter @SDCaltrans.

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