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EARTHQUAKE / LIFELINES OF L.A. : THE BRIDGES : Street Bridges Likely to Need Seismic Work : Good news is reinforced spans survived the temblor. Not-so-good news is that 25% of city's and 33% of county's bridges will require retrofitting, officials say.


Within the next two years, he said, the county is looking at another 216 bridges to be reinforced through a federal highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program. The preliminary cost estimate for that program is at least $150 million.

The remaining 200-plus bridges will be strengthened, as funds are available, in three to five years.

Many of the high-priority bridges are in the Long Beach area, including the Long Beach Freeway overpass of the Los Angeles River, Barsam said. In that $2.1-million project, workers will strengthen the bridge by, among other things, retrofitting its columns.

Another high-priority area will be the Antelope Valley, he added.

And like Los Angeles, the county also will focus on bridges that span the Los Angeles, Rio Hondo and San Gabriel rivers.

Although the bridges are slated for strengthening, Barsam said, he believes many have proven their durability by surviving quakes.

So as they ready for the worst, city and county bridge engineers voice confidence that the most vulnerable bridges have been--or will soon be--strengthened.

"I have been around here 30 years now and I have been through Sylmar and Whittier and now Northridge. And we did well in all of those," Robins said. "So based on that, I feel pretty comfortable about the city's bridges.

"That doesn't mean the retrofit program is any less urgent than it would be if we had more damage. . . . We have probably been lucky that we have not had an epicenter near our major bridges Downtown."

Local Bridge Damage

Of the 2,300 bridges owned by Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles, several suffered major damage. The worst damage to county bridges occurred in or near Santa Clarita, while in the Los Angeles, the two bridges in the San Fernando Valley were damaged enough to be closed.


* Damage to columns and abutments on Sierra Highway bridge over railroad tracks, $500,000.

* Damage to abutments on McBean Parkway, also over the Santa Clara River, $400,000.

* Buckled girders and other damage along The Old Road over Santa Clara River, $350,000.

* Damage to approaches to The Old Road bridge above Southern Pacific railroad, $150,000.


* A 70-foot pedestrian span over Wilbur Avenue at Collins Street in Tarzana suffered some $100,000 in damage to its columns.

* Approach roads on both ends of a six-lane highway that takes Nordoff Street over the Southern Pacific rail line in Northridge incurred some $500,000 in damage.

Sources: Los Angeles County and City of Los Angeles

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