Jessen Drive bridge design work underway in upper Alta Canyada

The project to replace the Jessen Drive bridge in a residential area above Palm Crest Elementary School is about 60 percent designed and will be ready to proceed next year, City Manager Mark Alexander said Tuesday.

The bridge, an old wood truss structure, provides vehicle and pedestrian access for resident and access to the Palm Crest campus. According to the city, loss of the bridge would disrupt east to west traffic flow above Foothill Boulevard.

The bridge, as a wood structure, is also subject to wildfire damage. It also facilitates existing underground utilities crossing the Hall Canyon channel, and supports the new sewer line serving District 3A.

Because of its age and structure, the bridge has been posted with a weight limit sign. It was strengthened in the past by the county, but now requires replacement. According to the city manager, “The bridge requires extraordinary maintenance.”

“Most of the funding for the project will be sought from the highway bridge replacement and repair fund maintained by Caltrans,” the city manager said.

La Cañada, with the assistance of the city of Los Angeles, applied for funding for three local projects, one of them the Jessen Bridge.

The other two projects were the Berkshire Place Bridge and the Foothill Boulevard Bridge.

La Cañada is looking for $960,000 in state funding, to go with a local match of $240,000.

The city's bridges are inspected on a two-year cycle by the county.

In light of last week's bridge disaster in Minnesota, Supervisor Mike Antonovich is calling for a report on the bridge inspection process from the department of public works.

The Antonovich motion calls for the department of public works to inspect all bridges, and report back in 60 days on the county's ongoing program of inspections and on special needs caused by seismic issues.

According to the supervisor, there are more than 1,000 bridges in Los Angeles County.

“We must be vigilant to ensure that our motorways and bridges are safe for commuters,” he said.

According to some reports, there could be as many as a dozen county bridges needing high-priority repairs.

The California Department of Transportation finished a bridge retrofit following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

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