Costa Mesa to Newport: Kill the bridge

Costa Mesa officials hope their peers in Newport Beach will join them in opposing a proposed bridge that would link Costa Mesa's 19th Street with Huntington Beach.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Costa Mesa City Council upped the ante on its nearly 20-year-old resolution opposing the 19th Street Bridge by also pledging to try and get it removed from the county's master plan.

"I'll do my best to show my love to Newport Beach," Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer told the audience Tuesday. "Hey guys, let's work together, try to join services … "

Costa Mesa's new, active role in the bridge discussion is just the latest wrinkle in what was once considered a dead issue: linking Costa Mesa's Westside to Huntington Beach's Banning Avenue across the Santa Ana River.

Newport Beach Councilman Steve Rosansky revived the build-the-bridge talks last year.

Newport Beach has agreed to reexamine its stance.

Costa Mesa wants to offer shared services, among other incentives, to get Newport on its side.

But even if all three cities agreed to remove the bridge from the county's master plan, the Orange County Transportation Authority would still have to study the issue before removing it.

Councilman Eric Bever said that homeowners near Costa Mesa's other bridges to Huntington — those off Victoria Street and Adams Avenue — suffer from the increased cross-town traffic flow.

"I'm trying to share the fact that a lot of discussion that occurred tonight — what we're resisting or grinding our teeth over — we're doing it to our own citizens," Bever said. "I'd like to see people think about their fellow community members at the same time they think of themselves."

Proponents of the 19th Street Bridge say it would ease traffic on Adams and Victoria and improve traffic flow among all three cities.

The bridge has been on Newport Beach's wish list for decades because it would alleviate traffic issues on the city's only link across the river: Pacific Coast Highway.

Though the reboot of the idea initially had some tread with Costa Mesa officials and Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, an overwhelming backlash by Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach residents quickly smothered those hopes.

However, unless all three cities agree to ask the Orange County Transportation Authority to remove the bridge from its master plan of arterial highways, it will remain in the plan.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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