Marsh Street bridge construction will impact downtown traffic for months

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After years of planning, the city of San Luis Obispo is finally poised to replace the Marsh Street bridge, a more than a century-old concrete creek crossing at the edge of downtown.

Construction on the $5.5 million project, which was awarded to Souza Construction on March 17, will begin in mid-May. It involves replacing the entire bridge and a sewer mainline underneath, as well as installing new light fixtures.

Marsh Street between Osos and Santa Rosa streets will be impassable for the duration of construction—impacting downtown traffic flows for months to come.



“It’s a frequented route,” said Brian Nelson, a city supervising civil engineer. “There’ll be a learning curve for the public to adapt to, but people will get used to it.”

Cars driving down the one-way Marsh toward Santa Rosa Street will be rerouted via signage onto Chorro or Osos streets, and taken four blocks up to Mill Street, Nelson said. 
NEW TRAFFIC FLOW The city of SLO is starting construction on its Marsh Street bridge replacement project, which will impact downtown traffic flow. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE CITY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF THE CITY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO
  • NEW TRAFFIC FLOW The city of SLO is starting construction on its Marsh Street bridge replacement project, which will impact downtown traffic flow.


Though that exact route isn’t mandatory, he called that detour the “preferred route” based on traffic studies.

“It’s the most efficient route around the construction area,” he said. “It has the most capacity to handle that sort of detour.”

The street closure is expected to last at least nine months—but it could stretch out to a year. Due to environmental sensitivities, construction crews are only allowed access to the SLO creek between June and October, a relatively short amount of time, creating the potential for delays.

“Our work window is limited to when we can get in the creek,” Nelson explained. “We basically have six months to replace a bridge, which is a pretty tight window of time.”

Businesses in the vicinity will remain open during construction, with parking available on Marsh Street just west of the construction site.

“You’ll be able to get to the area,” Nelson said. “You can get in and you can park and then get out on Osos Street.” ∆

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