On Monday, the City Council approved a plan that would keep the
bridges on county plans for now and establish a series of steps that
would end with the bridges' removal. That would only happen after the
cities involved develop and put into place measures that would
alleviate the traffic problems the bridges are meant to solve and the
county deems those measures successful.
None of the three cities that Costa Mesa needs to agree to the
plan -- Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Fountain Valley -- have
That puts Costa Mesa in the vulnerable position of having the
decision on the bridges made by the Orange County Transportation
City officials assert that their plan provides the authority with
the necessary ammunition to see things their way.
"We believe we have given [the authority] enough information for
them to easily make the decision to delete the bridges," said Bill
Morris, director of public services. "All of our environmental work
and traffic reports and numbers should make it an easy decision for
City officials oppose the bridges because they believe they would
harm several nearby residential areas, schools and parks. They are
also concerned that the bridges could harm wetlands and biological
resources along the Santa Ana River bed.
The four cities agreed to work toward deleting the bridges when
they started the Santa Ana River Crossings Study in 1993. But in
December, Fountain Valley requested grant funds from the authority
for preliminary and final design of the Gisler Avenue bridge.
In response, the Costa Mesa City Council passed an emergency
resolution to fast-track a solution that would be amenable to all
The solution passed Monday calls for reiterating the city's
opposition to the bridges, adopting measures that could eliminate the
need for the bridges and asking the authority to certify the Santa
Ana River Crossing environmental report.
It also says the bridges should be kept on the master plan for
now, but that the participating cities should not assume the two
bridges will be built when considering long-term planning studies
developments and land-use assumptions.