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Purdon Crossing Bridge to close for repairs

Matthew Renda
Staff Writer
Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

Purdon Crossing Bridge, which is slated for a comprehensive rehabilitation project this summer, is scheduled for closure on Thursday, June 13.

The first phase of construction, expected to last three to four weeks, includes repair of structural elements of the bridge, according to a news release issued by Joshua Pack, principal civil engineer with the Nevada County Department of Public Works.

Public will have limited access to the bridge during the first phase during non-construction hours, the release states.

The second phase of construction is expected to take about four to six weeks, will include abrasive blasting and repainting to restore the original black color to the bridge.

To prevent lead-based paint and other materials from reaching the Yuba River, workers will encase the bridge with a shrink wrap material and install a dust collector to gather airborne emissions, Pack said.

During this period, the bridge will be closed to all traffic, including pedestrians, Pack said.

Purdon Crossing is a popular recreation destination for locals and visitors to the region looking to access the South Yuba River and the beaches that flank the river.

The parking lot managed by the Bureau of Land Management will remain open, and nearby beaches and trails will remain open.

However, law enforcement will be vigilant when it comes to illegal parking.

“The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol are on high alert regarding illegal parking,” said Department of Public Works Director Steve Castleberry.

In previous years, there have been several instances of motorists blocking the roadway by parking illegally, Castleberry said. Last year, there was at least one instance where emergency personnel had difficulty reaching an injured hiker due to parking congestion in the Bureau of Land Management parking lot.

“Emergency vehicles trying to access injured people need to be able to get as close to the river as they can,” Castleberry said.

A representative from the sheriff’s office said a BLM officer will be monitoring the parking lot throughout the summer.

Purdon Crossing is one of four crossings over the South Yuba River in Nevada County, with the other three — the Highway 49 Crossing, Edwards Crossing and Bridgeport Crossing — also managed by California State Parks as part of the South Yuba River State Park system.

The parks department instituted paid parking last year in an effort to enhance revenues and keep the park from being closed. Paid parking has put added pressure on other access points in terms of parking, visitation and garbage cleanup.

Caleb Dardick, executive director of the South Yuba River Citizens League, said there are concerns that the Purdon Crossing closure will add even more pressure to the Edwards and Highway 49 crossings.

Purdon Crossing Bridge is a rare surviving example of a pin-connected Pratt half-through truss. The bridge, which was built in 1889, has a number of functional and aesthetic problems, according to the latest bridge inspection performed by the California Department of Transportation in 2011.

The timber railing and rail posts are loose with sagging connecting points while the entire apparatus exhibits heavy distress, the inspection stated. Many important bolstering elements of the truss are bent, loose or warped.

In April, Nevada County contracted with Farr Construction, a Gridley based construction company, for about $620,000, which includes a 10 percent contingency fund.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or 530-477-4239.

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