Rail Trail Trestle Bridge Project Advances Toward Groundbreaking

Rail Trail Trestle Bridge Project Advances Toward Groundbreaking

Santa Cruz City Council awards contract for adding the Rail Trail to the San Lorenzo River Trestle Bridge; project comes in more than $7 million under budget

Friends of the Rail & Trail today praised the City of Santa Cruz for awarding the construction contract for a new multi-use path to be built on the San Lorenzo Trestle Bridge to Cushman Construction. Cantilevering the Rail Trail from the existing San Lorenzo River Trestle saves more than $7 million compared to the original estimated cost for a new bridge as described in the 2013 Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Master Plan.

The new wider path will be the first part of the 32-mile-long Rail Trail described in the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Master Plan to be constructed. This segment will provide the most direct pedestrian and bicycle access between the Seabright neighborhood and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk area, the Riverwalk levee path and downtown Santa Cruz. This is a tangible example of how the Rail Trail system will connect into other existing trail systems within Santa Cruz County.

“Friends of the Rail & Trail is thrilled to see this first section of the Rail Trail moving forward at a much lower cost than originally estimated,” said Mark Mesiti-Miller, chair of Friends of the Rail & Trail. “Thanks to the work of the planners and engineers from both the City and the private sector, we didn’t need to build a brand new bridge, saving more than $7 million from the original project estimates.”

The City of Santa Cruz will construct this project outside of the busy summer season to minimize impact on pedestrians and cyclists, who will be rerouted to the nearby Riverside Avenue Bridge during construction.  The new Rail Trail will be two and a half times wider than the four-foot path it replaces.

The Land Trust Santa Cruz County previously provided $15,000 for the structural analysis to determine if the Rail Trail could be cantilevered from the existing railway trestle bridge. This analysis revealed the original plan for a new stand-alone pedestrian/bike bridge was unnecessary and a cantilevered system using the existing trestle was feasible, saving the Rail Trail project millions of dollars.


 MBSST Master PlanFinal Design
ItemEstimatesActual Costs / Allowances
Bridge Construction$6,000,000$2,034,000
Design Engineering PS&E$900,000$178,500
Environmental Permitting$600,000incl in line above
Construction Mgmt$900,000$100,000
Grand Total:  $9,600,000$2,412,500
Table compares Master Plan Estimates to Final Design Costs



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