By Shawn Raymundo
Plans to replace the Mariposa Beach Trail Bridge are likely to move forward soon, as the engineering firm KPFF has been awarded the city’s $327,000 contract to lead the construction project.
The city allocated a total of $3 million toward the project to replace the steel bridge with one made of fiberglass—material, according to the city, that requires less maintenance when it comes to protecting against weathering and corrosion.
“It became evident that frequent repainting of the existing steel bridge was not a long-term, cost-effective approach, and that replacing the steel bridge spans with an alternative material would be less costly in the long term,” the city stated in a staff report to the city council.
According to the city, a fiberglass bridge is expected to have a “useful life of 30-40 years” compared to the level of upkeep on the existing steel bridge, which requires recoating every 10-15 years, as well as “frequent spot patching and painting.”
The contract award comes roughly three months since the Mariposa portion of the Beach Trail reopened to the public. The bridge had been closed several months because of structural damage it sustained during a landslide last November.
After evaluating the damaged portions of the bridge, the city has stated, it cleared landslide material and made temporary repairs, allowing the section of the trail to reopen.
KPFF, the city said, worked closely with city staff to “determine the extent of the damage to the bridge and its support columns at the landslide area.” The city noted that some KPFF employees worked on the bridge’s original design and construction in 2005 and 2006.
“Therefore, KPFF has unique familiarity with the Mariposa Beach Trail Bridge,” the city said in its report. “KPFF determined that the foundation of the bridge was sound and only minor repairs would be needed when replacing the bridge.”
The engineering firm will be tasked with developing construction drawings and technical specifications, procuring package and bid support, providing engineering construction support and managing the construction, according to the city.
The contract award covers KPFF’s $296,450 cost proposal, plus a 10% contingency added to the cost because of the project’s “complexity and potential unknowns.”
The city also noted that the coastal development permit (CDP) for the bridge could require an amendment before construction begins, which will include replacement of the bridge and minor incidental bluff clearing.
If the project isn’t exempt and an amendment needs to be made to the CDP, the council will have to approve additional funds to cover the amendment task.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.