Lanes on new West Mission Bay Drive bridge ready for vehicles
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and City Council President Jennifer Campbell marked the completion of a key phase of the new West Mission Bay Drive bridge Jan. 5, opening a portion of the span to vehicle traffic.
On Wednesday, Jan. 6, motorists will officially begin to be diverted onto the bridge to allow the aging existing bridge to be safely demolished. As the existing bridge is demolished, the iron, concrete and other materials will be hauled off to be recycled and reused in other capacities.
The $135 million project is now roughly halfway complete, with protected bike and pedestrian lanes yet to come. It is intended to improve safety and accessibility for all users on the busy route linking the Loma Portal and Midway District neighborhoods with SeaWorld, Mission Bay Park and popular beach areas.
“I am thrilled to open this new bridge that will ease traffic congestion in a heavily traveled part of our city and ultimately provide bicyclists and pedestrians a safe and environmentally friendly way to cross the San Diego River,” Gloria said. “This new bridge is going to make life easier for residents in our coastal communities, especially during busy summer months.”
The old West Mission Bay Drive bridge was built in the early 1950s and features only two travel lanes for northbound and southbound traffic. As traffic volume increased significantly during the past 70 years, the bridge was declared obsolete by the California Department of Transportation and targeted for replacement.
The new version features two standalone bridges — each with three vehicle lanes — and a 12-foot-wide shared path for pedestrians and people riding bicycles, scooters or other modes of transportation.
“It’s an exciting day in District 2,” said Campbell, who represents the area on the council. “The opening of the new West Mission Bay bridge is a big step in reducing traffic, increasing safety and creating better options for the residents in our beach communities to move around.”
In addition to the infrastructure and mobility upgrades, the project allows for growth of native vegetation and habitat for protected species in the area.
The work also will widen the westbound Interstate 8 offramp as well as nearby Sports Arena Boulevard.
Construction on the project began in July 2018. It is expected to be completed in 2022.