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VENTURA : City Lacks Funds to Save Main St. Bridge


Ventura does not have enough money to fix the rain-damaged Main Street Bridge so that it meets current safety standards, an official told the City Council on Monday night.

The center of the bridge, which spans the Ventura River, collapsed into a gaping V-shape during last weekend's rains, stretching about 75 yards and dipping more than four feet. No one was injured.

Making the tattered 60-year-old bridge safe enough to withstand a strong earthquake or other disaster could cost up to $5 million, said Ron Calkins, the city's public work director.

But neither Ventura nor state agencies can find that kind of money right now, he said.

So instead, Calkins recommended spending $200,000 to secure the supports onto the bridge and to strengthen the supports themselves. This approach, at least, means that if the bridge totters again in a flood or a quake, it probably won't kill anyone in the process, Calkins said.

"There isn't enough money to save the structure," Calkins said. "So this is what you do to prevent loss of life and strengthen it so that someone doesn't fall into the river.

"That's a $200,000 alternative versus a $5-million alternative," Calkins added. "There's nothing in between."

City officials received Calkins' report but took no action on the matter. The issue will be scheduled for debate at an upcoming meeting.

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