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Cabrillo Bridge Rehabilitation and Retrofit Project

Tuesday Oct 28 - Thursday Oct 30
Cabrillo Bridge Closure


The deck of the Cabrillo Bridge will be closed to all vehicular traffic Oct 28-30, 10pm-5am
Pedestrians and bicycles will have ESCORTED access across the bridge

An additional night may be required on Nov. 1, 10pm-5m



The Cabrillo Bridge has reopened to vehicular traffic. Construction continues on the exterior portions of the bridge.

Occasional traffic control and/or sidewalk closures are possible





Full bridge deck closures are scheduled nightly Monday through Friday, March 24‐28 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. so that crews can safely install and tighten post‐tension cables in bridge piers beneath the sidewalks.  The sidewalks will be closed to pedestrians during those time periods.  Accommodations will be made for those needing to cross on an emergency basis.   Sidewalk closures signs with dates and time have been placed to alert the public.   The walkways will be open to foot traffic during the day.  The vertical post tension system involves stringing multi‐stranded steel cable to anchors at the top  and  bottom  of the  bridge  piers  and then tightening the  cables.   This  process creates tension on the cables that adds  stability and  strengthens the  structure.
In the interest of safety, the public is kept away from the work zone during these operations. Night closures are tentatively planned on southbound State Route 163 for Wednesday and Thursday, March 26 and 27 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.   The closures will allow concrete pours for bridge piers located on the freeway median.   Caltrans will confirm the closure on Monday before issuing a news release.  Crews are working 12‐hour day  shifts and 10‐hour night  shifts and expect to open the 
bridge to vehicles in summer.  A more definitive date will be announced as we get closer to completion.    
The next Construction Bulletin will be issued to stakeholders in April or as needed for special updates.   Please visit the Caltrans website for the latest information.   

The Project 

The project is a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) project in conjunction with the city of San Diego and will provide for the rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of the Cabrillo Bridge (Laurel Street Overcrossing) over State Route 163. 

The 769-foot-long bridge serves as the primary east-west route into the Park, which is one of only three freeway routes leading out of the city's downtown section. Collapse or severe earthquake damage can seriously hamper emergency response efforts as well as tourism, business, and freight supported commerce. This project is not just about preserving a beautiful and historic structure, it is also about safety and commerce. 


The purpose of this project is to improve the structural integrity of the Cabrillo Bridge, to help ensure the safety of the traveling public passing under the structure and across the bridge, and to provide safe access for maintenance staff inspecting the bridge. The improvements are proposed to take place while providing a context sensitive solution with the utmost respect for the historical nature of the bridge and its environment. The goal is to preserve a beautiful, historical, and important city icon.


The project will begin in the summer of 2013 and end in the summer of 2014.

Some of the traffic road closures on SR-163 will be routine and conducted at certain times to maximize safety and minimally inconvenience the traveling public. Laurel Street is the bridge road deck that leads into the park from 6th Avenue and points west. It will be closed to vehicular traffic from January 2014 through April 2014.

Work on the roadway/deck surface will be constructed in stages allowing for pedestrians and bicyclists to access the park through clearly-marked passageways either on the right, left, or center of the road.  All of the Balboa Park West end institutions will remain open during construction. 

Closure Dates:

  1. Highway Closure:

  • Stage 1: State Route 163 closures timeline: August 2013 - October 2013
    Areas impacted: SR-163 main lanes of traffic
    Access to the Park will not be restricted.
  1. Cabrillo Bridge Access - Stages 2A - 2F (Below):

  • Timeline: January 2, 2014 - April 30, 2014
    Areas impacted: Laurel Street leading into the Park Plaza
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and dismounted bicyclists can enter Park. As this will be a construction zone, there will be traffic flaggers helping pedestrians enter the Park safely. As an alternative, Tram service is available via the Inspiration Point parking lot at Tram Central. The tram will deliver you into the heart of Balboa Park.  
  • Stage 2A: Preliminary Deck (Laurel Street) Work
    Timeline: January 2, 2014 - February 2, 2014
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and bicyclists (walking bikes) can enter Park via both sidewalks. 

  • Stage 2B: Major Deck (Laurel Street) Work
    Timeline: Febuary 7, 2014 - February 17, 2014
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and bicyclists (walking bikes) can enter Park Via the "center" of the bridge. 

  • Stage 2C: Major Deck (Laurel Street) Work
    Timeline: February 18, 2014 - March 3, 2014
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and bicyclists (walking bikes)  can enter Park via the "left sidewalk" of the bridge.

  • Stage 2D: Major Deck (Laurel Street) Work
    Timeline: March 4, 2014 - March 20, 2014
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and bicyclists can enter Park via the "right sidewalk" of the bridge.

  • Stage 2E: Major Deck (Laurel Street) Work
    Timeline: March 21, 2014 - April 7, 2014
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and bicyclists (walking bikes) can enter Park via the "center" of the bridge.

  • Stage 2F: Major Deck (Laurel Street) Work
    Timeline: April 8, 2014 - April 30, 2014
    Access: Deck to be closed to vehicles but pedestrians and bicyclists can enter Park via both "sidewalks" of the bridge    

Vehicular Traffic Alternatives:

Arriving via Automobile
Via 6th Ave
Take 6th Ave north to Robinson or University. Turn right to Park Blvd. Go south on Park Blvd to Balboa Park.
OR Take 6th Ave south to A St. Turn left on A St to Park Blvd. Turn left on Park

Southbound from I-5
Take the 10th Avenue Exit off I-5. Turn left on "A" Street and left again on Park Blvd. Follow signs to Balboa Park.

Northbound from I-5
Take the Pershing Drive/B Street exit off I-5 to Pershing Drive. Take Pershing and then turn left on Florida Drive. Turn left on Zoo Place to Park Blvd. Left on Park Blvd.

Southbound from Hwy. 163
Take the Park Blvd. exit off Hwy. 163. Turn left on Park Blvd. Follow the signs to Balboa Park.


Bike Route Alternatives:

Alternative one:

  • The Upas Bike Path which connects the two portions of Upas Street route has steep grades and sharp turns and more suitable for mountain bikers. It begins at the southeast corner of Upas Street and Seventh Avenue, near the northwest corner of Balboa Park. After crossing SR-163 via a pedestrian bridge the bike path emerges at the entrance to the Boy Scout Service Center at 1207 Upas St. near Vermont Street. 

Alternative Two:

  • Alternative route from the south runs along Ash Street (for westbound bicyclists) and A Street (for eastbound bicyclists). These involve a lot of "out-of-direction" travel.

Alternative Three:

  • An alternative route from the north runs along Robinson Avenue with "out-of-direction" travel. However, it does seem to be the most practical alternate for road bicyclists.