Serious makeover ongoing for historic bridge
The historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge is getting a serious makeover and, according to a committee member, it will be open to foot traffic in less than two years.
Built in 1862, the 208foot span truss bridge was used for vehicle traffic until 1972 and foot traffic until 2011, when it was closed. A growing number of supporters are working to restore it to its original glory – with some upgrades.
“It’s got the longest clear span of any covered bridge and I think everyone wants to get it repaired to make it last another 150 years,” said Doug Moon, chair of the Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee.
Moon said the bridge, which is in the National Register of Historic Places and is a California Historical Landmark, has far-reaching appeal.
“It’s not just local and state. We have a nationwide interest in the bridge, and the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges has been running stories about it,” Moon said. “People want to see this bridge restored.”
Of the 700,000 annual visitors to the South Yuba River State Park, where the bridge is located, Moon said many are from Marysville and Yuba City.
“It’s a big economic driver in our area and the state park gets a lot of visitors coming to see the bridge,” Moon said. “It’s a very inexpensive trip – it’s $5 for parking and you have access to all the hiking and beaches for families to swim in and picnic.”
Moon said a recent trip
to the State Capitol was a promising move in getting the bridge restored.
“The state has hired a consultant to streamline the permitting process and move the funding and project up a year,” said Moon.
Initial estimates had the completion of the restoration in 2018 or 2019, but with state support, Moon said, that’ll move the timeline up.
“There’s an army of agencies that are going to be involved – it involves about every agency you can imagine to get things done,” he said.
He added that Gov.
Jerry Brown and other state leaders are helping to move the project forward as well as a large contingent of more local organizations, businesses and elected officials in the Nevada County area.
He said fundraising efforts are still needed to secure $2.6 million for the construction phase.
“We have all the money available to get though the design/engineering part of the process, which is $1.3 million,” he said.
Moon said the bridge will be hiked up 2 feet higher to account for flooding.
Upcoming events will showcase the bridge and park.
A growing number of supporters are working to restore the Bridgeport Covered Bridge to its original glory – with some upgrades.