Structural engineers hired to inspect Pleasanton's 88 bridges | July 19, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 19, 2013

Structural engineers hired to inspect Pleasanton's 88 bridges

Focus will be on 23 bridges not now regularly inspected

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council approved a three-year contract Tuesday night with a San Jose engineering firm to handle an ongoing program of inspecting bridges in the city to evaluate their safety and make recommendations for structural improvements.

At the same time, City Manager Nelson Fialho announced that Pleasanton recently received federal funds that can be used for the design and maintenance of eight bridges in the city, including the Bernal Avenue bridge over the Arroyo de la Laguna, near Foothill Road. Replacement of that 1941 steel bridge has long been on the City Council's "low priority" list, but without funds to pay for the project, it's also stayed on the back burner of council concerns for years.

Plans initiated back in 1990 call for leaving the old bridge in place but building a second bridge, which would be a less expensive, contemporary concrete structure.

The federal funds won't pay to replace the Bernal bridge or any of the others, but will provide funding for applying methacrylate deck treatment and joint seal replacement for seven bridges. The steel members of the Bernal Bridge also will be painted this year.

Bridge aficionados have long urged city leaders to build a look-alike steel bridge to replace the aging one now in use. But the cost of an identical replacement has soared from an estimated $1.4 million in 1993 to $3 million. A compromise plan could see a second, still one-lane bridge built alongside the steel structure, but looking more like the Bernal bridge over the Arroyo del Valle east of Stanley Boulevard and near the headquarters building of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department.

City engineers have long said a second bridge is needed over the Arroyo de la Laguna to handle increased vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. As it is, the old, narrow steel bridge continues to be a major traffic bottleneck during peak commute hours.

There are 88 bridges in Pleasanton with 23 that are not actively inspected. Others are periodically inspected by the Caltrans state highway and others by city staff engineers. But the city, itself, has no program for evaluating the condition of local bridges which are carrying an increasingly higher volume of traffic.

The contract went to Biggs Cardosa Associates of San Jose, which has performed engineering services for the city in the past and was recommended by the city's engineering staff as qualified to provide the required services.

The contract covers inspection services through June 30, 2016, at an amount not to exceed $750,000. Both federal and city funds are listed in the current fiscal year municipal budget for four bridge-related improvements.