January 5, 2021 – 2020 was a difficult year for everyone and the same applied to the Bridgeport Bridge Restoration Project. The original estimate for completion of the Bridge Project was late spring 2020. There were delays caused by the introduction of a different design incorporating the “Mabey Bridge” installation used to support the wood bridge during construction, then some major engineering design and implementation delays late spring and early summer, and recent delays caused by abutment and foundation issues. The good news is there is total commitment by California State Parks, the Sierra Gold Parks Foundation and the Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee to complete this project and open to the public a fully restored historic covered wood Bridge as soon as possible.

Example of the mixture of reused and new timber selected to rehabilitate the X-Truss sections. Photo by Denise Jaffke.

The foundation work is now almost complete. The next steps are to introduce the major wood support beams, then the roof and bottom beams, and to rebuild and install the huge arches that span the Bridge. All of the necessary timber for the complete restoration is at the work site. The Bridge Wrights and carpenters have been fashioning all of these major components and most are ready to install as soon as the foundation work is complete. Many of the original 1862 timbers have been saved and are being used in the reconstruction of the Bridge, as well as eight original iron rods with the 1862 maker’s marks from iron foundries all over the world.

We are especially proud of the work done by the volunteer team of photographers documenting every step of the of the renovation process. This important work will establish a lasting pictorial record of the restoration process for one of the most iconic wood covered bridges in America. The monthly progress photos and videos are available for everyone to see at this website: https://www.southyubariverstatepark.org/index.html

Realistically, completion of the Bridge restoration looks like it will happen in the spring of 2021. The Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee is in constant contact with State Parks and is monitoring the Project closely. To be able to once again experience crossing the South Yuba River, as the gold rush era pioneers did, is a good reason to look forward to a better year in 2021! Congratulations to everyone involved, together we have been able to Save Our Bridge! Wishing everyone a very happy, safe and healthy New Year!