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Divisions of Boating and Waterways, Historic Preservation and Off-Highway Vehicles

News Release

For Immediate Release: 8/8/2014

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Half Moon Bay’s John Hernandez Bridge Needs Full Replacement, According to Assessment


Vicky Waters


Half Moon Bay, CA.—California State Parks today released an assessment conducted on the John Hernandez Bridge—also known as the Pilarcitos Creek Bridge—in Half Moon Bay State Beach, indicating the bridge has extensive corrosion damage and will need full replacement. The John Hernandez Bridge, popular for pedestrian and cycling traffic, has been closed to the public since April 2014 due to public safety concerns.

The assessment, conducted by Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers between June and July 2014, found corrosion rates to be significant throughout the span of the bridge, with some floor beams completely corroded and detached. On the deck, screw fasteners showed extensive corrosion, and floor stringers and bracing members have varying levels of corrosion. The corrosion is largely due to numerous beach environment factors, including flooding, wind and sand. The assessment states that "the entire bridge structure has exceeded its useful life and should be replaced with a new structure". The assessment further recommends the immediate removal of floor deck members on the end spans and barricading the deck to keep the public from climbing onto the bridge deck.

"What this assessment tells us is that the interim fix State Parks had hoped for is not feasible for this bridge, nor for the public we serve," said Chet Bardo, District Superintendent. "State Parks fully recognizes the importance of the bridge to this community and California Coastal Trail users, and we are diligently working to determine the best path forward."

An estimate for the replacement of the bridge project has been put at approximately $1.8 million, with the recommendation to use materials that can withstand salt exposure, such as galvanized steel with a two coat (primer and finish) high performance coating system. State Parks is currently working to identify potential funding in order to establish a timeline for replacement.

The John Hernandez Bridge was built in 1993 as part of a Coastal Trail Project by the City of Half Moon Bay. The bridge is 8 foot wide and 400 feet long. Twenty years of service life for a bridge is very short and unusual. The bridge’s useful lifespan has not endured as expected and

has caught State Parks off-guard with having to deal with closure of the crossing and full replacement of the structure. The bridge has been closed since early April 2014. As the bridge is unsafe to the public, California State Parks continues to urge people to stay off the bridge, and observe barricades and follow signs posted by California State Parks until further notice. Listed below are alternate routes for bicycles and pedestrians:


Take Kelly Avenue east to Pilarcitos Avenue then north to Strawflower Village. Take the Naomi Patridge Trail paralleling the west side of Highway 1 to either Wave Avenue or Venice Boulevard. Take Wave Avenue or Venice Boulevard west back to the Coastal Trail northbound.


Take Venice Boulevard or Wave Avenue east to the Naomi Patridge Trail. Take the trail southbound paralleling the west side of Highway 1 to Strawflower Village. Take Pilarcitos Avenue south to Kelly Avenue westbound back to the Coastal Trail southbound.

State Parks and Buehler & Buehler representatives will be discussing the findings of the assessment and next steps at a Half Moon Bay City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday August 19, 2014.

Click here to download a copy of the Buehler & Buehler assessment.


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California State Parks Mission

To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.