ATASCADERO — The City of Atascadero was recently awarded both the 2023 Transportation Project of the Year ($5 million to $25 million) and Overall Project of the Year to the Via Avenue and Santa Lucia Road Bridge projects from the Central Coast Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). 

The Project of the Year award is selected from the five category winners as the single Central Coast project that best exemplifies APWA’s intention to “promote excellence in the management, administration, and implementation of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant/architect/engineer, and the contractor who work together to complete public works projects.”

“We are extremely proud of the final projects, along with the coordination of staff and the work that went into the planning and design of each bridge,” said Mayor Heather Moreno. “These bridges also add positively to the safety and aesthetics of each area.”


APWA awarded the Via Avenue and Santa Lucia Bridges as a combined project, although they were formally two separate projects. Both were funded by grants through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highway Bridge Program, which is administered by the Caltrans Local Assistance District 5 office, and were initiated in March of 2014, with construction completed in late 2023. 

The concurrent design and construction for the two projects, along with the consistency of the core project team members throughout allowed for excellent efficiency and communication. While there were nearly 20 different consultants, subconsultants, contractors, and subcontractors involved over the course of the projects, the core team consisted of city and Caltrans local assistance staff, Consor as the design engineer, Souza Construction as the construction contractor, and Filippin Engineering providing construction management services. 

Ryan Hayes, deputy public works director/engineering and utilities manager, served as the city’s project manager for both bridge projects and was instrumental in keeping these projects moving forward over the past nine years.

Although there were challenges throughout, even including last-minute changes to the stream channel as a result of the January 2023 storms, the entire project team worked together to deliver bridges that aesthetically fit the community, met current and future transportation needs, improved public safety, and complied with strict environmental requirements from three separate regulatory agencies. Ultimately, the bridges were able to be completed within a tight (four and a half month) construction window and under budget.

Finally, the city is incredibly appreciative of the various community members and residents that have played a key part in these bridge projects. From those who attended early public outreach meetings and provided valuable input, to adjacent property owners who provided temporary construction easements and were most impacted by construction noise, to all those with extended travel times over the last year due to detours and delays, you also have played a key role in the completion of these bridges. Thank you for your patience during the construction of these projects.