Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D.
Director, South Coast and Sierra Regions
The Sandia Creek Drive bridge replacement project over the Santa Margarita River two miles north of Fallbrook is anticipated to restart construction in June 2024 with a new pivoted design arching over the river close to the existing structure.
What started as a fish passage project for endangered steelhead trout in the Santa Margarita River, led by CalTrout and funded by state and federal agencies, is an important multi-benefit community project that enhances public safety by also eliminating the top flooding hotspot in the county.
If you’re a resident, commuter or visitor to the Santa Margarita Trail Preserve, you’ll see workers on site starting early summer as we position the new steel bridge to cross the river away from sensitive areas encountered at the original bridge alignment downstream.
Re-vegetation of cleared areas has already started and will continue alongside construction of the bridge. The existing road will stay operational until the new bridge is completed in June 2025, at which time the flood-prone aging concrete box culvert structure will be demolished.
This restores the natural hydrology of the river, and removes the last barrier to steelhead passage between the ocean and headwaters 30 miles inland. Parking at the Santa Margarita Trail Preserve and access to trails will remain throughout construction. The Wildland Conservancy will continue to offer trail guidance.
The new multi-use trail crossing Sandia Creek Drive built last fall is very popular with trail users, and has enhanced safety features of activatable lights, signs and a crosswalk. The Project was developed in close review by the County San Diego, which will own and maintain the bridge.
The Project re-alignment will be reviewed by many regulatory agencies through a permitting process, developed in collaboration with the Pechanga Band of Indians, and presented to Fallbrook Community Planning Group. CalTrout will be holding public meetings in the next three months to inform residents of the new bridge construction schedule.
For more information on CalTrout projects, here and throughout the state, visit http://www.caltrout.org. CalTrout – Providing solutions to complex issues to benefit fish, water and people.