Nevada City bridge replacement slated for next summer |

Nevada City bridge replacement slated for next summer

Nevada City Engineer Bryan McAlister shows off some of the details to the proposed replacement of the Nevada Street Bridge, which has been highlighted for replacement. The project will include a public stairway access down to Deer Creek that will potentially connect to the Miners Trail.
Elias Funez/

The replacement of a circa-1938 bridge in Nevada City, once slated for this summer, will likely now happen next year instead.

The Nevada Street bridge over Deer Creek, adjacent to the Broad Street overpass, has been in the works for a complete overhaul due to structural deficiencies.

The portion of Nevada Street slated for the proposed bridge replacement is located immediately north of the street’s intersection with Broad, Sacramento and Boulder streets.

Staff from Dokken Engineering, the firm chosen to oversee the work, updated Nevada City council members Wednesday on their progress since a November 2016 workshop on the bridge’s potential design.

Based on feedback from the community, an alternative design was developed that was a hybrid of several design options and that respected the historic character of the bridge, said Matt Griggs.

Dokken had received partial approval from Caltrans for the project and has completed the state and federal environmental processes.

“Those were big, big milestones,” he said.

Geotechnical exploration, a preliminary design and utility coordination also have been completed.

Dokken is in the middle of obtaining design permits, right of way agreements, and utility relocation designs, and plans to have those pieces in place by August, Griggs said.

The next step will be to get the request in to Caltrans for funding to start construction next summer.

The bridge is part of a federal highway bridge program with the city ponying up a 11 percent match.

There is heavy demand for the funding in any given budget year, Griggs explained. The funds are there, it’s a matter of how much demand there is and which projects are shovel-ready. Bridges that are in imminent danger of failure move to the top of the list as well.

“We’ll do our best to get on the list early,” he said.

If the funding is OK’d and final approval from Caltrans is received, construction could start in May 2019 with a completion date of November.

While the project initially consisted of replacing the deteriorating bridge, engineers saw an opportunity to correct the alignment with the intersection, improve the load capacity, reduce maintenance and improve the pedestrian experience.

Along with realigning the intersection, the new bridge will reduce the likelihood of intersection flooding and add bump outs on the sidewalks. The adjacent parking lot will be restored and sewers will be removed from the creek. A staircase will be added down to the creek and gas lamps will be installed, Griggs said.

The bridge will be closed during construction but pedestrians will still be able to get through, he said.

Cannabis on the agenda

Nevada City’s city council also moved forward on some regulation changes for cannabis business permits at Wednesday’s meeting.

The council has wrestled for months with portions of its medical cannabis ordinance that regulates businesses other than dispensaries, such as ancillary manufacturing, processing and cultivation businesses.

Indoor cultivation has been a point of contention, with discussion over whether to ban it outright or just limit the size of indoor grows.

City planner Amy Wolfson presented an amendment on Wednesday that allowed activities related to nursery growing of immature plants and processing, and prohibiting commercial medical cannabis cultivation activities related to growing mature plants.

“I think we’ve beaten a dead horse on this one,” council member Evans Phelps quipped of the lengthy process before the council voted in favor of the first reading.

Council members also authorized a permit format to be used for permitting any qualifying medical cannabis business and told to staff to move forward in creating a permit fee/deposit of $1,500.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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