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163 freeway to be partially closed for next four months

The California Department of Transportation is advising motorists that construction crews will close southbound state Route 163 from Interstate 8 to the Cabrillo Bridge for certain parts of the week for the next four months.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. SR-163 will be shut down to allow for rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of the Cabrillo Bridge (Laurel Street Overcrossing).

The closures include the westbound and eastbound I-8 connector ramps to southbound SR-163 as well as the following exits at Robinson Avenue, Washington Street and University Avenue.

Signs will be placed directing motorists traveling southbound SR-163 to take the westbound I-8 connector onto the southbound I-5 on-ramp to access northbound SR-163.

Improvements include replacing unsound concrete and corroded steel, and encasing steel cables into the concrete within the vertical pillars and the horizontal superstructure in a post-tension technique, said Cathryne Bruce-Johnson, Caltrans representative.

Inside the bridge, crews will install access portals and ladders to the series of enclosed rooms in the hollow bridge so that the old wood forms and accumulated debris can be removed. The new catwalks will provide convenient access for future inspections and maintenance.

Repairs will also be made to the electrical conduit that supplies the deck lights and abutment dirt floors, and to the deep ruts caused by water erosion. In addition, the outside concrete will be power washed, and Laurel Street will be repaved.

Laurel Street has been blocked off to motorists since Jan. 2. Pedestrians and bicyclists walking their bicycles will continue to have access across the bridge into Balboa Park.

Park museums and vendors will remain open to the public during the construction period.

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