Build it and they will come to the park

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The city of Newport Beach is building a bridge to help pedestrians and bicyclists cross Superior Avenue at West Coast Highway.

It’s a popular coastal area for walkers and cyclists, and officials say the bridge will be safe option and improve access to 14-acre Sunset Ridge Park, which was developed a few years ago with a baseball field, soccer fields and a playground.

The new park has been underutilized and the city believes expanding parking and building the bridge will improve usage.

The parking lot also will be increased to double the number of spots.

Newport Beach Parks, beaches & Recreation Commission chose a concrete design over a steel truss concept for the 260-ft. long and 14-ft. wide bridge and secured a $2.3 million federal grant, by way of the Orange County Transportation Authority, to go toward the bridge’s estimated $3.7 million construction cost.

Traffic studies show the Superior-Coast intersection sees 48,000 vehicles a day on Coast Highway and 21,000 to 24,000 on the Superior-Balboa Boulevard legs. It also sees 600 pedestrians, with 470 of them crossing Coast Highway, and 90 cyclists, almost half of them crossing the highway.

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