His­toric cov­ered bridge in Ne­vada County will get a full restora­tion

The Sacramento Bee - - Local - BY HAN­NAH DAR­DEN hdar­[email protected]

Ne­vada County’s Bridge­port Cov­ered Bridge, built in 1862 and the long­est cov­ered sin­gle-span wood bridge still stand­ing, is about to get a huge facelift.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the Save Our Bridge Com­mit­tee have se­cured enough fund­ing to be­gin work on restor­ing the ag­ing span af­ter seven years of lob­by­ing leg­is­la­tors, ac­cord­ing to Doug Moon, chair of the com­mit­tee.

The bridge, which crosses the South Yuba River about 12 miles north­west of Grass Val­ley, was closed to cars in 1972 and to pedes­tri­ans in

2011. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown ap­proved $1.3 mil­lion for the bridge’s restora­tion in

2014, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous Bee re­port­ing.

Within a year, sta­bi­liza­tion work was com­pleted to keep the bridge in place un­til the full restora­tion could ad­dress struc­tural prob­lems, said Moon. How­ever, the cost of the restora­tion in­creased af­ter new es­ti­mates were made, and there was no longer enough money to re­store the bridge.

Last year’s state bud­get ap­pro­pri­ated more money for the pro­ject, Moon said, and now back­ers have the sum they need - $6.8 mil­lion - to com­plete the restora­tion.

Moon said that dis­cus­sions be­tween con­trac­tors and the Cal­i­for­nia Parks and Recre­ation Depart­ment will be­gin next week to de­ter­mine what ma­te­ri­als to use and how to do the work. Ac­tual con­struc­tion is slated to be­gin in the spring and be com­pleted by the end of the year.

Be­cause the bridge is reg­is­tered as a his­tor­i­cal land­mark at both state and na­tional lev­els, spe­cific cri­te­ria must be ad­hered to dur­ing the restora­tion. For ex­am­ple, all pieces of the bridge that can­not be sal­vaged have to be re­placed with ma­te­ri­als that are as sim­i­lar as pos­si­ble to the orig­i­nal, Moon said.

“It’s an iconic struc­ture, es­pe­cially for Ne­vada County,” Moon said. “In al­most ev­ery restau­rant, bank, real es­tate of­fice, there’s mu­rals or pic­tures (of the bridge)... It’s an iconic struc­ture in the area and a big part of our his­tory in Ne­vada County.”

The bridge was an im­por­tant trans­porta­tion link dur­ing the Gold Rush, when ships would drop cargo in Marysville, Moon said. The cargo would be brought across the bridge on wag­ons, and then would be taken through the Vir­ginia Turn­pike into Ne­vada.

The area sur­round­ing the bridge within the South Yuba River State Park is a pop­u­lar recre­ation lo­ca­tion in the sum­mer, with mul­ti­ple swim­ming holes. Moon said the park gets about 700,000 vis­i­tors an­nu­ally.

‘‘ IT’S AN ICONIC STRUC­TURE, ES­PE­CIALLY FOR NE­VADA COUNTY. Doug Moon, Or­ga­niz­ers of the Save Our Bridge Com­mit­tee chair

HEC­TOR AMEZCUA [email protected]

The Bridge­port Cov­ered Bridge in Ne­vada County was built in 1862.

RANDY PENCH [email protected]

The Bridge­port Cov­ered Bridge uses truss and arch con­struc­tion. It has been closed since 2011, but will be re­paired this year.

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