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East Mountain Drive

Montecito, California

Stream Crossing

Technical Description:

• Continental® Pedestrian Truss
• Span: 90 ft
• Width: 12 ft
• Style: Connector
• Finish: Self Weathering Steel
• Decking: Wood

The 2017 Thomas Fire wildfire burned hundreds of thousands of acres in the Los Padres National Forrest surrounding several beach towns, including the Montecito area in Santa Barbara County, California. In the month following the blaze, seasonal rain was left unobstructed as it came streaming off the steep slopes into the towns below, creating one of the largest mudslides in California history. Within the slide, large boulders and debris eroded away the shallow Cold Springs Creek and the once low water crossing at Tangerine Falls Trailhead was a 15’ deep ravine. Since a safe crossing was no longer available for vehicles or pedestrians, the county needed to install a crossing.

“Due to the debris flow damage in the Cold Springs Creek area in January 2018, a considerable section of the East Mountain Drive section was entirely wiped out, including the low crossing destroying the access to the west side of the creek bank," stated German E. Neyra, Resident Engineer with Santa Barbara County Transportation Department Construction Section. "The creek channel increased in width and depth creating an opening that needed to be addressed with the fortification of the creek banks with rock slope protection, a temporary bridge for emergency access and a future permanent bridge design." 

Contech Engineered Solutions worked closely with the county's engineering team, and it was decided that a 90' x 12' Connector®-style Continental® Pedestrian Truss was the best solution. Even though the bridge used in this location would only be temporary, the county wanted to be able to reuse the structure once a permanent replacement was installed. Due to this requirement and the tight site constraints, the 90’ long bridge was divided into 3-30’ spans because this was a common length the County will be able to use in a different location. Precast abutments were added in order to speed up construction, reducing the length of trailhead closures. In fact, the abutments and bridge were installed in just two days.

With the Tangerine Trailhead hosting 10,000 visitors a week, the main challenge during this project was maintaining tourist access to the site. For this reason, the county wanted a quick turnaround. Additionally, since the project received FEMA funding, it was required to complete the bridge purchase and installation during their 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. After working closely with the county on the preliminary development of bridge plans and specs, they publicly bid the supply of the bridge through their purchasing department, and Contech was awarded the bridge design and fabrication.

Many hikers and cyclists enjoy the beauty of the area and eagerly gathered to witness the installation of the temporary bridge. The temporary steel structure with wood deck restored the road allowing the enthusiasts to enjoy nature once again.  

In the end, the temporary solution worked well for the site, and the county was pleased with the outcome. Neyra concluded, "The success of the temporary structure installation was facilitated by its design, steel truss bridge sections and precast foundations."


Technical Description:

• Continental® Pedestrian Truss
• Span: 90 ft
• Width: 12 ft
• Style: Connector
• Finish: Self Weathering Steel
• Decking: Wood

800-338-1122 | www.ContechES.com
Project #: 626158

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