Rebuilt Circle Drive Bridge is Sturdier, Wider

The new and improved Circle Drive Bridge was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Saturday morning, officially marking the successful completion of a large public works endeavor that finished on schedule and on budget.
“I want to thank the federal government for the funding and I also want to thank the county for overseeing the project,” Mayor Eugene Sun said while standing in the middle of Circle Drive before a small group of dignitaries, firefighters and local residents.
Behind him, parked prominently on the sun-drenched bridge, were two fire trucks and a police cruiser — their combined weight easily exceeding the three-ton limit of the previous structure.
“The Fire Department can now come back and forth responding to 911 calls, which is essential to saving life and property,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district includes San Marino.
Last year, the county Department of Public Works determined that the integrity of the original Circle Drive Bridge had been compromised as a result of the multiple earthquakes since its construction in 1910. The county commissioned Powell Constructors to replace the existing bridge over Virginia Road with a revamped, concrete iteration that meets current design standards.
The eight-month project broke ground in February and cost $2.369 million, with the majority of that coming from Federal Highway Bridge Program dollars. San Marino was responsible for 12% of that total, and was able to draw the money from the city’s allocation of restricted transportation funds.
“Our designers set out to give the bridge the same unique characteristics that make San Marino such a wonderful community,” said Pat Proano, assistant deputy director of the Environmental Programs Division with county Public Works. “The result is a bridge that’s safe for commuters. It echoes the architecture of the gorgeous community, and we’re just very pleased.”
The new Circle Drive Bridge is now 46 feet wide with a 32-foot roadway. Six feet of sidewalk and accompanying wrought-iron fencing flank the street as it connects two bluff-top neighborhoods just north of Lacy Park. Besides a foundation that will be able it to withstand a magnitude-8.5 earthquake, other enhancements to the bridge include vintage-looking streetlights on each end, a new fire hydrant and lettering that spells out “City of San Marino” along the outer facades — visible to motorists, bicyclists and joggers passing beneath the structure. Flowering vines will eventually be planted amid the jet-black fencing, a callback to the original foliage aesthetic.
Lucy Garcia, assistant city manager and public works director, expressed her gratitude toward those most closely affected by the jackhammers and detours.
“I want to acknowledge the citizens, the neighbors and all of the community members who really supported the project [and] tolerated all of the inconveniences that do come with construction — the noise, the parking issues, the dust,” Garcia said. “I hope that we tried to alleviate your concerns as best we could and that you’re happy with the project that has transpired since then.”
Antonovich officially opened the bridge for vehicle traffic by cutting the ceremonial red ribbon with large scissors as the crowd applauded.

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