Santa Ana Bridge expansion will help with dam removal
The effort to remove the obsolete Matilija Dam got one step closer last month, with the award of a $13.4 million grant to replace the Santa Ana Bridge in Oak View.
The award from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was announced May 30 by the Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Watershed Protection District. “The bridge replacement at Santa Ana is a component in many projects that have to be done in the Ventura River area, downstream of Matilija Dam, in order to set conditions to remove the dam,” said Glenn Shephard, Watershed Protection District director.
The grant will pay for the replacement of the existing 210-foot-long bridge with a 350-foot bridge, widening the channel by 80 feet in a constricted section of the river. The wider flood plain created by the longer bridge will accommodate the flow of more sand and cobble to Ventura County’s eroding beaches.
The Santa Ana bridge replacement is one of five public infrastructure improvements that need to be finished before the eventual removal of the Matilija Dam.