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Santa Barbara City Council votes 5-2 to reject Mission Canyon Bridge options

Bridge vote delays decision on restoration and improvements

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After more than four hours of discussion, Santa Barbara City Council members voted 5-2 to reject Mission Canyon Bridge project options and to direct staff to return in the Fall with funding options for improved pedestrian and multi-model access on both sides of the road.

District 4 council member Kristen Sneddon and District 1 council member Alejandra Gutierrez voted against the motion.

The vote puts to rest current plans to use millions of dollars in Highway Bridge Program funds to build a new bridge that meets seismic standards.

But Mayor Cathy Murillo said, "Eventually the bridge will have to be replaced or reinforced because that road is a primary evacuation route during natural disasters. It can be done, retaining the historic look, and even using some of the original stones."

Lanny Ebenstein who chairs the Coalition to Preserve Mission Canyon Bridge called the vote a victory.

Critics of replacing the bridge believe the city can still find a way to add pedestrian pathways between the Mission and the Natural History museum that are wheelchair accessible.

Ebenstein invited coalition members to view the virtual council meeting and to call in their comments from his garden.

They still call it the Mission Creek Bridge.

Ebenstein calls it a Santa Barbara treasure.

"I think that Mission Creek Bridge is a big part of Santa Barbara's heritage immediately next to the Mission, Rocky Nook Park and other historic sites and that is why people come to Santa Barbara because it is so historic and we preserve our history."

He believes the vote restores local control of the 100-year-old bridge that has a pedestrian path on the north side near the park.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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