Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway title=
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge
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By the City of Goleta

The City of Goleta is looking at options for the removal of the treasured Lake Los Carneros Footbridge. This popular, scenic bridge has been closed for more than a year due to significant rot of the wooden structure. The 30 plus year old bridge has provided countless visitors an up-close and personal look at the wetland habitats and wildlife at Lake Los Carneros. The City knows the community is eager to see a functioning bridge at this important recreation spot.

Goleta’s Public Works Department is putting together an independent team to design and seek regulatory agency permits for removal of the footbridge. Various conceptual designs for a replacement bridge will also be developed for the community’s feedback. Removal of the existing bridge is anticipated to cost over $500,000. The cost to replace the bridge is currently unfunded and is estimated to be well over $2 million.

City of Goleta Parks and Open Space Manager George Thomson said “Lake Los Carneros is one of the City’s premier open spaces and the footbridge provided generations of Goletans inspiring opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. The City is balancing a variety of high-priority programs and projects in our parks and open space system. Removing the rotted bridge, while protecting the sensitive wetland habitats, is the initial phase of this project. As bridge replacement designs are developed in 2023, we look forward to collaborating with the community to ensure the new bridge is compatible with our limited funding, can be easily maintained, and will provide the next generation a window into the wonders of Lake Los Carneros.”

Once a team is put into place it will create designs for the bridge, develop bridge removal and replacement costs, and coordinate state and federal regulatory permits. The community will play an integral role in providing design input and ensuring the project is financially and ecologically sustainable. 

The footbridge was closed in 2020 when it came to the City’s attention that it may not be structurally sound and a structural assessment was conducted. An independent, licensed structural engineer determined the bridge should remain closed for all operational and service usage and that it should be demolished and removed due to the significant level of decay. The report found that the level of deterioration was beyond repair considering American with Disabilities Act requirements for accessibility and updated building code requirements.

For questions or concerns, please contact George Thomson, Parks and Open Space Manager, at or (805) 961-7578.

Lake Los Carneros Wooden Footbridge rot
Significant levels of rot in the wooden footbridge supports require demolition of the existing structure.

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Chip of SB Oct 26, 2022 07:31 PM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Let’s be generous and allow $100k for lumber and materials. That would leave $1.9 million for labor. That’s enough to pay 10 people $100 an hour to work on the bridge full time for a year! I think this project could easily be done for 1/10 of this budget

Pete Stronzo Oct 27, 2022 12:17 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Will the proposed sales tax increase (Measure B) pay for the replacement of this bridge? Will it fund the construction of Fire Station 10 in West Goleta? Will it pay for the replacement of the crib wall along Cathedral Oaks? If Measure B passes, that money will go into Goleta's General Fund and can be used to finance anything that 3 members of the City Council choose to fund.

Goleta now has 114.775 full-time employees (FTE). There were 46 FTE in 2009 and 88 FTE in 2019.

a-1666884855 Oct 27, 2022 08:34 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

The number of FTE's and their pensions will only continue to grow, and so will the % of Goleta's budget needed to fund them. Are these new FTE actually improving Goleta efficiently, or could the funds be better spent on improving the city, or simply not collected as much from the taxpayers in the first place?

BufordNgoleta Oct 27, 2022 07:36 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Looks like the SF $1.7M for a single bathroom has arrived here in Goleta. I can guess about 2/3 of this is completely unnecessary government administrative waste. A bridge already exists at this spot - so lets not do "environmental impacts" and "archeological oversight" and "architecture reviews" for the "impacts" of nearby residents?

photodude Oct 27, 2022 08:20 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

I agree, the prices quoted seem high, but not off by an order of magnitude, probably off by a factor of 3 or 4.

According to, the cost of footbridge construction is dependent upon two things: the bridge type (truss, stringer/beam, etc., and the construction materials (fiber reinforced plastic, wood, steel).

The present bridge is of stringer/beam construction, which affords unobstructed views, and is the least expensive construction method.

The cost to construct a Fiber Rinforced Plastic (FRP) stringer/beam bridge is $350 to $650 per linear foot (average $500/foot). A wood bridge costs between $300 to 400 per linear foot (average $350), a steel bridge costs between $500 to $2000 per linear foot (average $1250).

The FRP bridge has the advantage of not rotting or rusting. Trex is a FRP material that is oftentimes used for decking for these reasons.

I don't know how long is the Lake Los Carneros foot bridge, but I would conservatively estimate 1000'. A 1000' FRP bridge should cost about $500,000, not including demolition costs.

The bridge could be demolished using the bridge itself. The rotten support columns would need to be temporarily sistered with new wood so support a small backhoe on the old bridge. The bridge would then be disassembled piecemeal using the backhoe. Disassembly materials would be stacked in back of the backhoe and continuously removed by a crew. None of the surrounding wetland would be disturbed. I would estimate three people for three days to accomplish the demolition (3x3x8x$75/hour = $5400. There also would be costs to haul the demo material to the dump, which would me less than the demo costs, i.e., stack up the material and do the dump run on one day.

I would like to see Goleta's cost estimate breakdown published.

haskelslocal Oct 27, 2022 08:31 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Is there honestly not a construction company that wouldn't go in and get this done for cheap? Even utilizing the plethora of volunteers? Maybe one that's received decades of public contracts? Well of course there is! But as always it's ignored and turned into an overthought nightmare.

infomaniac Oct 27, 2022 08:57 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Let's try some facts:
- The rise in the number of employees is largely the result of 2 factors. First Goleta had to use a lot of expensive consultants. It actually saved money to hire more employees and reduce the number of consultants
- Goleta's library became independent. And it also over management of libraries from other cities such as Solvang. So on the books, the employees of other libraries appear as Goleta employees, though paid for by other cities.
Yes, when Measure B passes, the revenue will go to the general fund. The same thing happened in Carpinteria and City of Santa Barbara which committed to spending the new revenue or roads, libraries and the new police station. Well, the police station is approved and in the process of being built, city of Santa Barbara roads are being paved, and Carp's library is thriving. Why? Because there IS accountability. It's called ELECTIONS. If Measure B is approved and Goleta gets $10 million more in revenue, it's up to US to show up at budget hearings and make sure it is spent well. For all the complaining, how many on this thread showed up at any Goleta budget hearing. Hmmm. There is no guarantee that Measure B revenues will be well spent. But without the additional revenue, there is a guarantee that there will NOT be enough funding for the bridge replacement, crib wall fix, upgrade of the Community Center and replacing the bridge at Lake Los Carneros. Finally, building a bridge that will LAST and respect the environment both on the removal of the old and placement of the new won't be cheap. Let's try to deal in facts, please.

BufordNgoleta Oct 27, 2022 07:19 PM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Facts? This area sends a LOT of property tax $ to the state, yet our local government doesn't fight for return of enough funds for our needs. Instead, a "survey" was sent asking for budget priorities which is then twisted into an appeal for a new tax to fund the priorities. Now there's no serious scrutiny of project costs! Vote NO on B and ask our city government to at least try to work smarter and not act like big wasteful cities.

DBD Oct 27, 2022 10:00 AM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Get a couple people in there on foot with a two man auger to drill some holes for footings and replace the columns that have rotted out. The columns seem to be the issue, not the rest of the footbridge. They do this with the caissons on Stearns Wharf without tearing the entire thing down so we must have the engineering technology to apply a similar concept to a small footbridge on mostly dry land. Maybe we can make this a project for DPHS or UCSB engineering dept, surely some bright minds that would love to contribute.

BufordNgoleta Oct 27, 2022 08:20 PM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

Maybe you're not familiar with the bridge. A path around means walking off the property, down along the street, then back onto the property. When I was a kid 50 yrs ago, the bridge didn't exist. Until closing I walked over it once a week and I admit it makes for a great walk around the lake. But not for the $ being estimated.

BufordNgoleta Oct 30, 2022 01:13 PM
Lake Los Carneros Footbridge Replacement and Design Process Underway

This comment string is old but having walked there this morning I'll throw this out there. Current bridge location is far from ideal. Reeds and now trees obstruct what little view of the lake there was. I suggest a new location by having the bridge removed but save $ by leaving support poles only cut off at high water mark. Makes for some rest places for birds and won't need the big equipment for pole extraction, reducing impact. Then run a longer floating dock across about 500 feet in the direction of the dam where there is a natural path access to water (by sycamore tree) and a 700ft stretch toward the palm trees will stay just ahead of the reeds, not require expensive engineering costs a bridge would, much lower material & labor cost, and provide outstanding views of the lake.

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