Changes to two major South Yuba River access points are creating parking headaches at Edwards Crossing as law enforcement officials vow to step up enforcement.
Ralph Henson has lived about a mile and half away from the popular river crossing since 1981 and said parking has been as congested as he can remember.
“Over the years, the parking issues have become worse,” he said.
Nevada County Undersheriff Joe Salivar said the implementation of a paid parking program last year, coupled with ongoing construction at the Purdon Crossing Bridge, has driven more visitors and residents to Edwards.
“We are working with state parks and other agencies to address the problem,” Salivar said.
Salivar said law enforcement officers would be issuing citations to those not in compliance with several newly installed signs indicating where it is illegal to park.
“If you park in front of a ‘No Parking’ sign, you will be getting a ticket,” Salivar said.
Assistant County Executive Officer Alison Lehman said the recent installment of the “No Parking” signs has been ineffective in dissuading rivergoers from parking illegally.
“Illegal parking is causing traffic congestion, increasing roadway danger, and is creating a public safety issue,” Lehman said.
“The parking problem is so severe that fire trucks or emergency vehicles are unable to pass or would be delayed.”
“Whenever you have so many people in a concentrated area, there is obviously a fire danger,” he said.
“Our officers may need to get down there if a crime is occurring.”
Search and rescue operations in recent years have been impeded by congested parking as firefighters had to pick up and move a car at Purdon Crossing last year to gain access to an injured hiker.
Purdon Crossing Bridge
The project to rehabilitate the Purdon Crossing Bridge will soon enter the next phase, which will necessitate closing the bridge to all traffic.
Beginning July 16, the second phase, which includes abrasive blasting and repainting the bridge to restore it to its original black color, will commence, said Nevada County Principal Civil Engineer Joshua Pack.
The first phase of construction, which began in mid-June, involved repair or replacement of the bridge’s structural components.
The second phase will require the bridge to be entirely enclosed with a PVC shrink-wrap material to prevent flecks of the lead-based paint or other material from getting into the South Yuba River and surrounding environment.
The second phase is estimated to take four to six weeks.
“When complete, this historically significant bridge will be restored to its original 1895 condition and able to serve the public for decades to come,” Pack said in a release.
The parking lot and turnouts, for parking, along Lake Vera Road on the south side of the bridge will remain open throughout the project.
About 300 feet of Purdon Road north of the bridge will be closed to the pubic, but pedestrian access to the river and nearby trails will be maintained next to the construction site.
The South Yuba River Citizens League will kick off its summer River Ambassador program for the second year.
Volunteers will mobilize up and down the river in an effort to educate to visitors about the importance of stewardship.
Henson said SYRCL volunteers have offered to help educate visitors about the proper parking protocol at the river.
“Most people just don’t know where to park,” said Ralph Henson, who will volunteer his time to help assuage the congestion.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.