COMPTON — Mayor Emma Sharif was joined by members of the business community April 13 to request $30 million in funding from the state for the reconstruction of the heavily damaged Artesia Bridge. The bridge was closed off in December 2020, after a fire rendered the bridge unsafe to use, compromising the steel grinders and concrete in the bridge.
“This bridge is a vital connection point for our residents, commuters and businesses who travel between the 91 Freeway, Port of Long Beach, or neighboring cities,” Sharif said. “With more than $4 billion headed California’s way for bridge repairs and replacements, we need to ensure that funds from the federal infrastructure bill are allocated to the Artesia Bridge.”
The Artesia Bridge is a vital access route for Compton commuters. Since its closure, the movement of goods has been severely impacted causing trucks to be redirected, increasing the cost and time of deliveries, further compounded by the existing issues at the port. Local businesses have reported losses of $150,000 to $400,000 per week in sales which have impacted the city’s general fund, limiting funding available for public services.
“People that live, work and commute through Compton deserve safe and reliable infrastructure,” state Sen. Steven Bradford said. “Poorly kept infrastructure causes unsafe driving conditions and burdens the community with additional vehicle repair costs.
“One of my top priorities in the Legislature is improving the safety and security of my constituents. I am happy to help secure funds in the state budget for the infrastructural development in the city of Compton. We must continue to make investments and work to improve the lives of all Californians.”
Residents remain skeptical about the city’s ability to complete the project, if funding, considering street repairs continue to lag despite money being available to resume the work.
“Of course let’s ask for more money, can’t even fix the potholes in the street,” said Roberto Escriba.
The city has a documented history of misspending funds earmarked for infrastructure repairs.
The previous city administration voted to leverage annual street repair funds into an $80 million bond package to accelerate the street repairs that has still yet to happen.
“I wish Mayor Sharif would take the time to inform the residents of any and all improvements being considered or made within the city,” said Gilda Blueford.
The public safety of Compton residents has been impacted by the closure of the bridge which has led to dangerous road conditions, increasing the number of traffic incidents reported due to motorists driving through the barriers.
“I can’t understand why it is safe enough for trains to go underneath it, but not safe for vehicles to go over it,” said Juan Villarreal.
“I have witnessed two different accidents that have taken place roughly 30 minutes apart due to the closure of the bridge,” Councilwoman Lillie Darden said. “It is our priority to keep our residents safe. We need the state of California to provide the necessary funding to reconstruct and repair the vital infrastructure of the bridge.”
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at email@example.com.