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Pasadena Shifts Funds to Colorado St. Bridge


PASADENA — The $6.25-million funding shortfall for rehabilitation of the Colorado Street Bridge will require the city to spend an additional $1.35 million of city street funds and shift to the bridge project at least three years' worth of federal street repair money, totaling $1.4 million.

The rest of the shortfall will be made up by $1 million in engineering cost reductions and the transfer of $2.5 million in federal funds from the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission.

The Pasadena Board of Directors unanimously approved the plan Tuesday, increasing the city's total contribution to $7.4 million, but not without some misgivings.

Directors William Thomson and Rick Cole questioned whether shifting additional money to the $27.4-million bridge project would harm city maintenance and construction in other areas.

"I'd like to know what happens to our budget to keep our roads fixed," Cole said. "The Colorado Street Bridge is just about as priceless as you can get, but it is not priceless."

Resident Lou Richards also cautioned the board that the city's contribution to the project has steadily grown.

"All the money going into the bridge could be used for other projects," Richards said. The money could also help social service agencies, some of which faced state budget cutbacks earlier this year but were denied city aid because of tight finances, Richards said.

But Director John Crowley said the city had pledged to restore the bridge. He estimated that demolishing the landmark structure spanning the Arroyo Seco would cost nearly as much as preserving it.

The effect of increased bridge costs on other city programs will be evaluated, City Manager Philip Hawkey said. The city faces a financial squeeze in building maintenance and capital projects, something the Finance Committee will review, officials said.

Plans for restoring the 77-year-old bridge, closed to traffic since last November for earthquake safety, were estimated in 1988 at $15.8 million. But in May, 1989, design drawings put the cost at $20.4 million.

The cost jumped again in July when construction bids were accepted and the low bid, submitted by Kiewit Pacific Co., was $27.4 million.

Because the low bid was higher than anticipated, city officials couldn't award the contract until they made up the shortfall. Once a contract is awarded--expected within the next two weeks--the work will take about 2 1/2 years, meaning the earliest the bridge could be reopened is mid-1993.

With each increase, officials increased the city's contribution and asked for more money from federal, state and county sources.

The city expects to pay for the project with $12.7 million in federal discretionary bridge funds, $6.2 million from regional Federal-Aid Urban money administered by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the state, $3.2 million from state gas tax money allocated to Pasadena, $2.8 million from city development fees and bonds, $1.4 million from future city Federal-Aid Urban funds and $1.1 million from federal Bridge Rehabilitation Funds.

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