Big Sur and Garrapata Creek Bridge Rail Replacement Project

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Project Information 

This project is divided into two components:

Tier 1 (Program-level analysis)—The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes bridge rail replacements on six historic bridges along the Big Sur Coast to bring the facilities up to current traffic safety standards. In addition, all six bridges rails were given a poor rating in the Bridge Inventory Status Report and show various levels of deterioration. 

Tier 2 (Project-level analysis)—Caltrans proposes to replace the deteriorated nonstandard concrete baluster bridge rail and approach railing on the Garrapata Creek Bridge (Number 44-0018) on State Route 1 in Monterey County, approximately 11.3 miles south of Carmel-By-The-Sea to ensure the safety and reliability of State Route 1. The Garrapata Creek Bridge structure is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and is located within the Carmel-San Simeon State Highway Historic District as well as within the Coastal Zone.

A tiered approach is being used to reduce time and to improve efficiency by eliminating repetitive analyses of issues that were addressed in the Tier 1 program level evaluation.

Overview of Project Area

Tier 1—The historic Big Sur arch bridges along State Route 1 in Monterey County contribute to the Carmel-San Simeon State Highway Historic District. The bridges sit along the Big Sur Coast starting from the south with Big Creek Bridge at post mile 28.1 and ending at Malpaso Creek Bridge at post mile 67.9. The six bridges in the proposed bridge rail replacement program are listed below:

Bridge Name Bridge Number Post Mile Year Constructed
Big Creek Bridge 44-0056 28.1 1938
Bixby Creek Bridge 44-0019 59.4 1932
Rocky Creek Bridge
44-0036 60.0 1932
Garrapata Creek Bridge
44-0018 63.0 1931
Granite Canyon Bridge
44-012
6403 1932 
Malpaso Creek Bridge
44-0017
67.9 1935

Tier 2—Garrapata Creek Bridge was constructed in 1931, widened in 1998 and seismically retrofitted in 1987 and 1998. It is one of seven historic arch bridges along State Route 1 on the Big Sur Coast. The bridge is 285 feet long and consists of 12-foot lanes with zero to 1-foot shoulders. The bridge structure is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and sits within the Carmel-San Simeon State Highway Historic District as well as within the Coastal Zone.

Garrapata Creek Bridge has nonstandard concrete baluster bridge rails on both sides of the structure. The rail end posts exhibit fine pattern cracking, and the barrier rail posts are severely deteriorated with many small cracks beginning to emerge as well as showing previous impact damage. The project on State Route 1 in Monterey County proposes to replace the existing nonstandard concrete baluster bridge rail and approach railing on Garrapata Creek Bridge. The irreversible damage from pervasive salt-laden fog has accelerated the overall deterioration of concrete and reinforcing steel of the bridge rail, warranting replacement. Caltrans is committed to choosing a new compliant railing that is context sensitive and will be compatible with the historic and visual character of the Big Sur Bridges and within the Carmel-San Simeon Highway Historic District.

project location map

Project Benefits

Purpose

The purpose of the Tier 1 Big Sur Bridge Rail Replacement Program and Tier 2 Garrapata Creek Bridge Rail Replacement Project is to replace the existing nonstandard concrete baluster bridge rails and approach rails with rails that meet current state and federal traffic safety standards to ensure the reliability of State Route 1.

Need 

The Tier 1 Big Sur Bridge Rail Replacement Program is needed because the existing rails do not meet current traffic safety standards.

The Tier 2 Garrapata Creek Bridge Rail Replacement Project is needed because the existing rails do not meet current traffic safety standards, and as stated in the 2015 Bridge Inspection Report, portions of the existing Garrapata Creek Bridge rails have developed severe cracking caused by deterioration of concrete and reinforcing steel.

The upcoming projects are necessary due to various levels of deterioration of the existing railing on all six bridges, and the railing no longer meets current traffic safety standards. Caltrans Structure Maintenance and Investigations crews inspected all six bridges in 2019, and the bridge rails on all six bridges were given a poor rating in the Bridge Inventory Status Report.

The Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware, which was implemented as an agreement between the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials in 2009 (updated in 2016), sets the standards for highway safety equipment. Newly adopted Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware standards have mandated that all new installations of roadside safety devices on high-speed roadways, including bridge railing, must meet a new higher standard for crash testing for all projects advertised as of December 31, 2019, without exception.

Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware standards dictate both the structural performance as well as the height and width dimensions of new railing. The existing railings are insufficient by current Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware standards for the posted speed limits on this stretch of State Route 1, so it is not possible to accomplish the purpose of the project and replace the existing railing in-kind moving forward. Portions of the existing Garrapata Creek Bridge rail are in an accelerated state of deterioration, including the concrete spalling and exposed steel reinforcing bar. This deterioration may pose a hazard to public health and safety moving forward if allowed to continue unaddressed.

Estimated Funding Breakdown

The total Big Sur Bridge Rail Replacement Program cost is approximately $45 million

The estimated total cost (including construction and support costs) for the Garrapata Creek Bridge Rail Replacement Project is $8,779,000.

The Garrapata Creek Bridge Rail Replacement Project will be funded through the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) as well as through SB1 funds.

Federal and State funding to be determined at CTC allocation. 

Future bridge rail replacement projects have not yet been programmed.

Proposed Project Schedule

  • Final environmental document completed: May 2021
  • Public outreach and Coastal Development Permit process: Fall 2021 – Early 2023
  • Design to be completed: March 2023
  • Project Advertised: July 2023
  • Construction: Fall 2023 - Fall 2024

Documents

Project Contact Info

Carla Yu, Project Manager
Phone: (805) 835-6349
Email: carla.yu@dot.ca.gov

Jason Wilkinson, Environmental Branch Chief
Phone: (805) 540-9165
Email: jason.wilkinson@dot.ca.gov