State Route 217 San Jose Creek Bridge Replacement

Project Description

Caltrans proposes to replace the existing San Jose Creek Bridge (Bridge Number 51-0217) in Santa Barbara County on State Route 217 from post mile 0.9 to post mile 1.4.  Concrete on the superstructure of the existing bridge contains reactive aggregate, which may compromise the structural integrity of the bridge. Additionally, the outside shoulder widths do not meet existing standards.

The project would replace the existing bridge with a wider one that would provide standard lane and shoulder widths and a standard 10-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian path on the northbound side. The new bridge would include features that would allow the structure to be raised to accommodate future sea-level rise. Rebars with couplers and pins would be installed to extend the bridge columns, which would allow the superstructure to be raised by jacking without the need for structure replacement. The existing bridge is supported on six bents, or sets of piers, with 11, 15-inch-diameter columns per bent, for a total of 66 columns. The new bridge would remove the existing 66 columns and replace them with one bent consisting of eight, 42-inch-diameter columns.

Project Benefits

Purpose:  The purpose of the project is to maintain multimodal continuity across the San Jose Creek Bridge for travelers along State Route 217.

Need:  An inspection of this structure has documented a long history of concrete cracking and deterioration due to alkali-silica reactivity or reactive aggregate. Reactive aggregate is a widespread problem that affects Portland cement used on pavement and structures. It occurs when silica in the aggregate and alkali in the cement reacts in the presence of water. The result is a chemical reaction that causes concrete to crack and lose its strength. The most recent routine inspection of this structure noted separation and weakening of the bridge deck and a salt coating on the underside of the bridge (known as the soffit). Its outside shoulders also do not meet existing width standards. Replacing the bridge is recommended based on the Bridge Maintenance Strategy Fact Sheet, Structure Replacement and Improvement Needs Report, and Bridge Inspection Reports prepared for the bridge.

Funding Breakdown

The project is included in the 2019 Federal Transportation Improvement Program and is proposed for funding from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program funds. It is also included in the Santa Barbara Association of Governments’ approved 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. The current capital construction cost estimate, not escalated, for the Build Alternative is $23,272,000 (February 2019). The current right-of-way cost, not escalated, is $446,250 (December 2018).

Proposed Project Schedule

  • Environmental document completed on: 9/3/2020
  • Right-of-way acquisition to be completed on: 6/28/2022
  • Design to be completed on: 6/16/2022
  • Advertising to be completed on: 12/7/2022
  • Construction to start on: 3/1/2023
  • Construction to be completed on: 7/1/2026


District 5 Public Affairs
50 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 549-3111