The bridge in Aptos damaged in 2017 storms is finally slated to be repaired.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Civic Life

That smashed bridge over Highway 1 in Aptos is finally getting fixed — but not without a highway closure

Nighttime commuters may be inconvenienced next week as the rail bridge in Aptos gets repaired, as both directions will be closed for repairs. The damage, caused by a storm, occurred in 2017.

Those driving south on Highway 1 in Aptos have looked up and wondered about the smashed-in overpass railing just before the Rio Del Mar exit for four years now. Next week the long-overdue bridge repair will come at the expense of night-time drivers’ convenience.

The section of Highway 1 that stretches from Rio Del Mar Boulevard to State Park Drive will be closed overnight from Tuesday, Jan. 18, to Thursday, Jan. 20. Both directions will need to be shut down because even though the damage is best seen traveling southbound, the actual damage is over the northbound lanes.

The Aptos bridge over Highway 1 damaged in 2017 storms is finally set to be repaired.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The project will repair the railroad bridge at the South Aptos Undercrossing — specifically, a bridge railing and fencing that were damaged by a fallen tree during the winter storms of 2017.

Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission spokesperson Shannon Munz notes the widespread damage that occurred in the county during the winter of 2017, resulting in seven different sites needing significant work. Due to the extent of the repairs, additional emergency funding from the federal government was required.

“FEMA announced that the Federal Disaster Assistance had been made available for emergency repair to facilities damaged in those storms,” she said. “The RTC submitted a request for that assistance and it was approved, but there’s been a lot of steps since then.”

Munz added that FEMA came out between November 2017 and January 2018 to inspect the damages and determine the scope of work. However, over the last four years, the other six sites have already been repaired.

Additionally, Munz said that the RTC had to work with Caltrans to iron out the specifics of freeway closures and logistics. She said that they do not anticipate the project to last longer than the timeframe given.

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“When you’re going to do a project that is going to shut down the highway there are additional things that have to be done,” she said. “That’s just another reason why it’s taken a little bit of time to get to this place.”

After local social media chatter about Highway 1 closure postings, Second District Supervisor Zach Friend entered the discourse in the Aptosia Facebook group to share the news.

“If you commute at night please allow for extra time to navigate this closure next week,” he said.”We are all looking forward to this repair finally being done!”

A detour will be provided for commuters, taking them from the Highway 1 northbound and southbound off-ramps at Rio Del Mar and State Park Drive respectively, through Aptos Village and onto Soquel Drive.