A well-traveled bridge in Valencia was rated substandard by Caltrans, a national traffic safety firm recently announced.
The bridge that goes over the Santa Clara River on The Old Road between Magic Mountain Parkway and Rye Canyon Road was deemed the fourth most dangerous bridge in the Los Angeles metro area by Caltrans, according to TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based national transportation organization.
Bridges are assigned an overall sufficiency rating between one and 100, with deficient bridges receiving a lower score. Individual components of the bridge, including the deck, superstructure and substructure are assigned a rating between one and nine, with a lower score indicating a greater level of deficiency.
The Old Road bridge, which was built in 1928 and carries more than 29,000 cars every day, earned a sufficiency rating of 26.7, with a deck rating of 6, a superstructure rating of 5 and a substructure rating of 7.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, bridge superstructure is defined as all structure above the bridge bearing elevation and bridge substructure is defined as everything below the superstructure. Bridge substructure includes all foundation elements such as columns, wall piers, footings, pile caps, pre-cast or auger-cast concrete piles, drilled shafts, etc. The substructure can be generalized as an abutment or pier, which can be made of concrete, masonry, stone, steel and/or timber.
Caltrans does an assessment of each bridge and reports to TRIP, which looks at road conditions and funding needs versus availability and creates an annual report. The 2009 report found that Los Angeles area roads are the roughest in the nation, with 92 percent of major roads in the metro area in poor or mediocre condition.
According to TRIP, driving on roads in need of repair costs the average motorist in the Los Angeles area $746 annually in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, repair costs, increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
In addition, the Los Angeles urban area suffers the highest level of traffic congestion in the country. Traffic congestion costs the average motorist in the region $1,480 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. The average Los Angeles driver loses 70 hours per year due to traffic congestion, the highest rate in the nation, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2009 Annual Urban Mobility Report.
California also faces a funding crisis, with a surface transportation funding shortfall of $10.9 billion. Current transit needs are $8.6 billion annually, while transit funding is only $1.7 billion per year.