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New bridge for Old Auburn Road

Old Auburn Road drivers, who have had to navigate a maze of dirt and gravel for the past three weeks, can rest assured this weekend – the southern Nevada County bridge replacement project will resume Monday, said Michael Hill-Weld, the county’s director of transportation and sanitation.

The two-year project was delayed a few weeks ago by the discovery of a deeper-than-expected bedrock layer, Hill-Weld said. Engineers returned to the drawing board to ensure the pylons will support the new bridge as it stretches over Wolf Creek near Kenwood Estates.

The complication drove up the cost of the project from $710,000 to $800,000, Hill-Weld said.



While planning the bridge’s replacement, county officials discovered the 1940s-era bridge – which Hill-Weld likened to an Erector Set or the old Martinez Bridge – was considered historic by the federal government.

Nancy Walker, who has lived north of the bridge off Auburn Road for almost 30 years, bemoaned the loss of the wooden bridge.




“I hope they replace it with a wooden bridge,” Walker said, minutes after she had crossed the construction maze Friday afternoon. “I’ve known that bridge for a long time.”

Walker will be partially out of luck. Hill-Weld said there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the new two-lane bridge, except its immense safety value.

But the old bridge hasn’t been trashed – it was carefully deconstructed and rests in storage at the McCourtney Road Transfer Station, Hill-Weld said. He hopes a use for it can be found as part of a bicycle or pedestrian path in the county.

Unlike Walker, bridge neighbors Paul and Gynel Peterson were glad to see the bridge go, though they have not been thrilled with the ongoing construction. They’ve lived on a hill just south of the bridge for the last nine years, listening to the bridge pop “like a rifle shot” every time someone crossed it.

The new bridge should be installed by Oct. 15, Hill-Weld said.

“I think it’ll be a good thing for the community – it’s truly a safety project,” Hill-Weld said.


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