Bridgeport Covered Bridge Repair On-track Despite Cost Increases |

Bridgeport Covered Bridge Repair On-track Despite Cost Increases

John Field, Kathy Field and Doug Moon
SYRPA Publicity

County officials and members of the Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee received a thorough briefing on the status of the Bridgeport Covered Bridge renovation project from California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) staff today.

DPR representatives reported that following an extensive assessment of the condition of the bridge and the work needed to completely renovate the structure, a new cost estimate for the work now stands at $3.9 million.

Sierra District Chief Ranger Matthew Green explained that the original estimate of $1.3 million was based on a very limited assessment performed in 2011. The revised estimate was completed last December.

The increased estimate is due in large part to increased construction costs and a large contingency fund to address unforeseen issues with a very old, uniquely designed structure over a large river. With the $1.3 million already funded, an additional $2.6 million is needed to restore this 1862 iconic structure to its' former majesty.

DPR staff reported that new engineering and architectural plans are in the final stage of completion, detailing the work necessary to save the longest single-span, wood-covered bridge left in the world. These plans call for a complete renovation of the bridge and engineering work that will ensure the bridge will be able to withstand future flooding and storms; hopefully lasting for another 150-plus years.

Matthew Green and DPR staff said, "The bridge is a very high priority for our department." Green and DPR staff also said that any new requests for State funding would have to wait until after all permits were completed.

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In the meantime, there are sufficient funds to proceed with the permitting and other processes. The permits needed are quite extensive and involve California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Tthe Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies.

The project will also need to comply with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements, which may take up to 24 months to complete before construction can begin. Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston said, "We are going to be actively involved in following the environmental and permitting process and provide whatever assistance we can to see the process moves as rapidly as possible."

Doug Moon, chair of the Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee asks that community and supporters everywhere stay engaged.

"There will be more work ahead for us. When the project funding is requested, we will need your support to encourage the Governor and Legislature to fully fund the total renovation. Together we can Save Our Bridge," said Moon.

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