The Los Osos Valley Road overpass, stretching over Highway 101, had long been riddled with cracks and potholes, one of which was a few feet wide and spanned the length of a truck.
“It’s been rough like that for years,” said cab driver Phil Sutter, who navigated the bumps daily and expressed dismay that the holes had been neglected for so long. “They don’t care about your suspension.”
This winter’s rains stripped away the asphalt overlay where the road and bridge connect, finally prompting city officials to take action. On April 20, the city council awarded a $195,000 resurfacing contract to the R. Burke Co., who began work on May 10.
“We get tons of complaints about that road,” said City Engineer Barbara Lynch. “People don’t understand why we let it sit like that.” Lynch said the city has been planning a complete overhaul of the interchange and had hoped the road’s surface would hold up until that project got underway so workers could fix all the bridge’s problems at once with less interruption to the public.
“That will be a significant project,” Lynch said. “It’s not going to happen for about a year, but the resurfacing [couldn’t] wait any longer.”
Mayor Dave Romero said plans for revamping the interchange are in the last stages of design and are currently going through environmental review. In the end, a parallel bridge will be erected with two new lanes. Its estimated cost is $27.6 million. Half of the money will come from federal and state highway funds and the other $13.8 million will come from future traffic impact fees assessed against new commercial developments in the area. The Costco development already paid $6.5 million into the project.
“It may take 10 years to pay back the cost, but we expect it’ll go quicker,” Romero said. “In the mean time, we’ll use the general fund or sell bonds if necessary. The city has great credit.