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June Ballot Measures Have Residents Standing On Opposite Sides Of Main Street Bridge

By Bay City News Service:

Next month, voters in Half Moon Bay will cast their vote on competing measures that involve two different outcomes for the same 113-year-old bridge connecting the city's downtown corridor. 

The Half Moon Bay City Council placed two measures, Measure E, the Main Street Bridge Safety and Accessibility measure, and Measure F, the Main Street Bridge Preservation Act, on the June 3 ballot, allowing residents to determine the fate of the aging Main Street Bridge. 

Measure E would establish an official city policy as it pertains to any bridge repair or replacement policy. Passage of the measure would address the structural and functional safety deficiencies, including roadway alignment and width that meet Caltrans safety standards and compliance with American Disability Act requirements. 

In 2009, 2011 and 2013, a Caltrans bridge safety rating of 24 was given to the bridge on a scale of 1-100. This poor rating also indicated that the structure was "functionally deficient" because it is too narrow, with no shoulders or bike lanes and vehicle lanes that are too slight for modern vehicles, supporters claim. 

The bridge is also considered "structurally deficient" due to large cracks, corroded brackets and separated cement. 

In 2011, the city won a Federal Highway Administration project grant that will cover 88 percent of the cost of rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge that addresses both structural and functional deficiencies, resulting in the new bridge achieving a safety rating of more than 80. 

Opponents of Measure E contend that the bridge project will costs more than $8 million and would take two years to complete, causing a shutdown of the area that would dramatically affect local merchants. 

Opponents of the measure have devised an alternative bridge plan that would address all safety concerns, bring the bridge up to current ADA requirements and keep the bridge open during construction. 

Measure F seeks to restrict the city's ability to amend its Local Coastal Program through the state Coastal Commission and prohibits the demolition or physical expansion of the bridge unless voters approve such action in another, future ballot measure. 

It would require a majority vote of the citizens in a regular election before the bridge could be expanded or demolished, supporters say. 

Measure F also requires the Half Moon Bay City Council to submit the ordinance to the California Coastal Commission, which would have to sign off on any amendment or repeal the ordinance. 

Opponents of Measure F encourage residents to vote against the measure to ensure that enough flexibility exists to continue the environmental process to find a healthy alternative for the bridge. 

Measure E and Measure F are self-canceling, meaning that if both are approved by more than 50 percent of the vote, then only the one with the higher number of votes will take effect. 

If Measure E takes effect, then the city will take that on as the official policy to address the bridge's functional deficiencies.


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