Inside San Diego

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Mayor Gloria, Federal Leaders Announce Completion of Landmark West Mission Bay Drive Bridge

With investments from both the federal and state governments, the City of San Diego has completed a once-in-a-generation project to replace the four-lane West Mission Bay Drive Bridge, which was originally built in 1950 and had been declared functionally obsolete, with two parallel structures, each with three lanes going one direction that improve safety conditions for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians on this busy corridor. 

Managed by the City’s Engineering and Capital Projects Department, this is the largest bridge replacement ever completed in City of San Diego history.  

“For almost seven decades, San Diegans and visitors to our great city have been coming over this bridge to access our beautiful beaches and Mission Bay, and now we have a structure that makes it a safer and more enjoyable trip,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “A project like this requires the highest levels of engineering and creativity to complete, along with a monumental investment from our federal government.” 

Joining Mayor Gloria in celebration of the bridge’s completion today were Rep. Scott Peters (D-50), Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu.  

Work on the bridge replacement began in 2018 and was largely funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Bridge Program, which provided approximately $138 million toward the $148 million project, including $80 million from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

“It’s not every day that a new and improved bridge opens in the district I represent," said Rep. Scott Peters. “This project improves a vital connection to one of San Diego’s most visited beach communities. Over $138 million in federal funds, including $80 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, made this bridge a reality with the help of the Federal Highway Administration.” 

“In California and across the country, we are making once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s roads, highways, and bridges to meet the needs of today’s travelers and build a 21st Century transportation system,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “San Diego’s West Mission Bay Drive Bridge is a vital link to key destinations that support the local economy and a great example of the type of transformational investments that communities are able to make with real impacts on everyday people’s lives as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” 

“Bridges connect us—to one another and to economic opportunity,” said Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “Investing in American bridges and other infrastructure improves traffic flow, safety, resilience and our economic competitiveness. The West Mission Bay Drive Bridge project is further proof that President Biden’s investments in our infrastructure are making us stronger.” 

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient. 

To allow for continued access to West Mission Bay Drive during the project, the northbound structure was built first, and two lanes of traffic in each direction were diverted there. After traffic was moved from the old bridge, it was torn down, and the southbound bridge was built. Partial traffic access was provided on both sides of the bridge simultaneously starting in December 2022. 

“It is a great day in San Diego as the West Mission Bay Drive Bridge Replacement project is completed,” District 2 City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell said. “The old bridge has been replaced with new state-of-the-art infrastructure that can accommodate traffic for years to come. More importantly, the new bridge will allow drivers, pedestrians, scooters and bicyclists an easier, and safer route to the beaches in District 2.”  

In addition to expanding the travel lanes from four to six, the project provides for new traffic signals and protected bike lanes separated by a barrier on both sides of the bridge, along with a separate pedestrian path. The improvements are in line with the City of San Diego’s 2022 Climate Action Plan targets of increasing safe opportunities for cycling, walking and other non-automobile mobility options. 

An environmental mitigation plan was a key component of the project planning and development, as the bridge crosses over the San Diego River and sensitive animal habitats. The plan included approximately 12 acres of wetland restoration at two sites and a noise-abatement program to protect avian species and marine mammals during the construction phases.