Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Prepares to Embark on Pier Bridge Safety Enhancements
By Jorge Casuso
February 25, 2013 -- City officials are preparing to embark on an $8.35 million project to replace a 12,960-square-foot section of the Santa Monica Pier that has begun to deteriorate as a result of exposure to the elements.
The City Council Tuesday night is expected to approve on consent a series of improvements to enhance the safety of pedestrians, bicycles and vehicular traffic before construction of a new bridge begins in 2016.
The proposed improvements – slated to begin this spring -- include closing or limiting access to vehicles on the bridge and adjacent pier, removing the sidewalks on the bridge, shifting vehicle lanes to the south side and providing a wider pedestrian walkway on the north side of the bridge.
Staff also is recommending that a temporary concrete barrier be installed between the vehicle lanes and the pedestrian walkway and that signage and roadway markings be improved.
“The bridge has very narrow sidewalks and tall curbs and the height of the handrail above the walking surface is less than the height required by current standards,” City officials said.
“The sidewalks on the bridge are inadequate to accommodate the volume of pedestrians traveling to and from the Pier,” officials said.
The bridge is the primary route for pedestrians coming to the pier from Downtown Santa Monica and the only access for vehicles to the pier deck parking lot, City officials said.
As a result, police fear that pedestrians who walk in the adjacent vehicle lanes are in danger of being struck if “a driver was to lose control of a vehicle,” according to staff.
The 363-foot-long section slated for replacement was constructed in the 1920s and stretches west from the high-tide line on the beach to the concrete section constructed in the 1980s.
“This section of the Pier consists of timber construction and is nearing the end of its useful life,” staff wrote. “Structural analysis has shown that this section of the Pier has a limited capacity to support emergency and commercial delivery vehicles.”
The section will be “replaced with a new pier consisting of concrete piles, concrete pile caps, timber stringers, and timber decking,” staff wrote. The new materials would require less maintenance and would be more durable than the antique wood that currently supports this section.
The proposed project is the fourth phase in the Santa Monica Municipal Pier Replacement Project. The first three phases were completed between 2004 and 2007 and included the “replacement or repair of piles, stringers and deck boards on the Pier,” according to staff.
On Tuesday, the council is expected to vote to authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a first modification to the contract with Meek Shea, Joint Venture in the amount of $150,000.
The increase will result in a new contract amount not to exceed $8,350,000. Meek Shea has worked with the U.S. National Parks Service, the Port of San Diego, the United States Navy and the Ventura Harbor Department.
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