Culver City officially celebrated the opening of the reconstructed Higuera Street Bridge and the new connecting bike ramp to Ballona Creek on October 30, 2023. Special guest Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove joined Culver City Council Members, staff, project team members, and other guests to recognize this achievement, which improves mobility safety, accessibility, and connectivity in Culver City.
“I am glad to join Culver City leadership, including Council Members Freddy Puza, Dan O’Brien, Göran Eriksson, to celebrate the opening of the new Higuera Street Bridge,” said Rep. Kamlager-Dove. “Thanks to almost $8 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Culver City residents are better connected to businesses and green space with safe paths for bicyclists and pedestrians. I will continue to work with state and local partners to bring home critical federal funds to support projects like these.”
In May 2023, the City of Culver City (City) completed replacement of the Higuera Street Bridge over Ballona Creek, located along Higuera St between Eastham Dr and Jefferson Blvd in the Hayden Tract area. The previous Higuera Street Bridge was demolished in late 2021 and a new, wider bridge, with 27 additional feet, was constructed featuring significant improvements. Improvements include protected bike lanes in both directions, widened sidewalks, a shaded overlook onto Ballona Creek, a new traffic lane in each direction, traffic signal upgrades at the Jefferson Blvd/Higuera St/Obama Blvd intersection, new pavement and striping, fencing, and retaining walls, and a new access ramp to the Ballona Creek Bike Path connecting the Hayden Tract businesses to the bike path.
The old Higuera Bridge, built in 1938, had been declared functionally obsolete by Los Angeles County bridge inspectors. Culver City took advantage of a grant opportunity with the Highway Bridge Program and began planning for the bridge replacement in 2008. One of the major Project challenges was demolishing the old bridge and constructing the new one within the dry part of the year, as permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers. The final stage of construction was in fact delayed by heavy rains, but the bridge and ramp were opened May 16, 2023.
City of Culver City planned, coordinated, and oversaw completion of the project, working in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and the Army Corp of Engineers, which manage Ballona Creek, and with Caltrans (California Department of Transportation), the state agency responsible for transportation infrastructure, as well as the City of Los Angeles. These agencies coordinated with the City to meet safety standards, provide technical expertise, and facilitate the project.
Senior Civil Engineer Sammy Romo managed the Project for the City. Contractor Ortiz Enterprises, Inc. was the construction company responsible for the bridge replacement and bike ramp, both demolition and new construction. IDC Consulting provided design engineering for the Project and Biggs Cardosa/Mark Thomas managed the Project and provided inspection services.
Overall, the Higuera Bridge Replacement Project cost $11.1 million. This included $9.7 million for the bridge replacement ($1.4 million for design, $6.9 million for construction, and $1.4 million for construction management and inspection) and an additional $1.4 million for design and construction of the connecting ramp to the Ballona Creek Bike Path.
The bridge replacement was funded largely by a $7.9 million grant from the Federal Highway Bridge Program, with additional funding from local Culver City matching funds. The Federal Highway Bridge Program supports critical infrastructure enhancements and safety improvements on bridges across the country. Culver City matching funds included monies from Gas Tax, Measure R, Cumulus Traffic Mitigation Funds, and General Funds.
The connecting ramp to the Ballona Creek Bike Path was funded by a Metro’s Call for Projects grant, a Baldwin Hills and Urban Watersheds Conservancy Proposition 84 grant, and local Culver City matching funds. Metro (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority) awarded a grant to support construction of the bike ramp to enhance area transportation connectivity and accessibility. The Conservancy grant contributed to funding the design of the bike ramp. The Baldwin Hills and Urban Watersheds Conservancy’s mission is to acquire open space and manage public lands within the Baldwin Hills, Ballona Creek, and Upper Dominguez Channel watersheds and Proposition 84 focuses on environmental conservation and water quality projects.
Culver City’s commitment to local infrastructure development played a significant role in making this project possible.