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Countywide : Freeway Overpass Being Strengthened

Workers are strengthening an overpass of the Costa Mesa Freeway to protect against earthquakes.

The $1.9-million project should be completed in August, California Department of Transportation spokesman Albert Miranda said.

Retrofitting is being done to the bridge that connects the southbound lane of the Costa Mesa Freeway to the southbound San Diego Freeway, Miranda said.

General Construction Co. of Irvine began work in January to increase the size of the foundations of the concrete columns that support the overpass, he added.

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Welders were working last week to encase the columns in 3/8-inch-thick steel, he said, and will add cable restrainers to strengthen the connection between the columns and the overpass.

Caltrans decided to do the work after studying the damage caused to freeways and bridges by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Miranda said.

The overpass was not damaged by the Jan. 17 Northridge quake, he said.

Caltrans is still studying the effects of the Northridge quake, and it is too soon to know if additional changes will be recommended for the Costa Mesa overpass and other overpasses and bridges throughout the state, Miranda said.

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