Replace or repair it? This is the question the Arroyo Grande City Council will decide on Tuesday night regarding the Bridge Street Bridge.
The bridge has been a major staple in the Arroyo Grande village for over a century, 109 years to be exact.
“I can’t tell you how many senior portraits have been on the bridge over the years,” says Marlene Daoust, she lives in the area.
“Our daughter took her senior pictures here and just growing up in this community, just have a lot of memories here,” says Denise Davis, who also lives in Arroyo Grande.
But, now its years of age are catching up to it. “It’s pretty dilapidated, it’s leaning toward the creek and the streets you know, the whole thing’s just a mess,” says Davis.
The last time the city fixed the bridge was in 1989, when they added a truss to help strengthen it.
The bridge as is can still only hold three tons of weight per vehicle which is about the size of a common pick-up truck.
In order to bring the bridge up to current standards, it’s going to cost about $4.5 million versus the estimated $1.7 million it would cost to just replace it.
Business owners like Patti Christian from Salon 132 and Marlene Daoust from Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven work near the bridge and support repairing it.
“I think the bridge is beautiful I remember it as I was walking to school and I like it the way it is – maybe a little stronger so it’ll last forever,” says Patti Christian, owner of Salon 132.
“I like vintage things – vintage guitars, vintage bridges – sure,” says Marlene Daoust, owner of Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven.
Those who are against the rehabilitation project just want to see the bridge replaced in order to save the city money but, the city has already secured money for a rehab project under a program with CalTrans.
The CalTrans Local Highway Bridge Program sends about $300 million each year to fix highway bridges around the state.
Tuesday night, the city council will decide on the fate of the bridge.