Historic covered bridge renovation and Malakoff solar projects go forward

On January 12, staff from Nevada County, Jennifer Horne from Congressman LaMalfa’s Office, representatives from the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee, the South Yuba River Park Association, and the Friends of North Bloomfield and Malakoff Diggins met to discuss the upcoming projects scheduled to start in the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Historic Parks.

The two projects will include the reconstruction of the Bridgeport Covered Bridge in the South Yuba River State Park and energy efficiency improvements to Malakoff Diggins State Park. Both projects are planned to start construction in August 2018, and will benefit the local economy while preserving Nevada County’s history.

District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston has been active in the projects since discussions first began, saying, “After six years of hard work and planning, I am pleased that construction on both projects will start later this year. Neither of the projects would have been achieved without the South Yuba River Park Association and Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee who lead the charge on these initiatives, and the support of multiple local agencies, non-profits, organizations, volunteers, and community members who are passionate about keeping these historic sites open and true to their historic nature for residents and tourists to enjoy.”

Bridgeport Covered Bridge:
After being closed to foot traffic in 2011, the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge has been allocated the State funding necessary to complete its restoration. The one-hundred and fifty-five year old Bridge will be reconstructed with the same historic appearance (following the Secretary of the Interior’s historic replacement standards) which will allow pedestrian and horse-drawn wagons to cross again; similar to the traffic which crossed the Bridge in 1862.
DPR staff reported that Bridge construction could start as early as August 2018, depending on final approvals from the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and awarding the contract to a qualified contractor for the project. The reconstruction will include raising the Bridge eighteen inches to allow for higher river levels and hidden new structural elements to ensure the future integrity of the Bridge. The Project also includes replacement of some of the existing interior support structures, roof, wall and other failing structural elements as needed.

Although the Park will remain open, the construction project will likely cause temporary closures of South Yuba River State Park parking lots and beach areas near the Bridge. However, once construction has begun, the contractor will be required to complete the reconstruction of the Bridge within one year, allowing the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors to the Park to cross the Bridgeport Bridge again after years of closure.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park:
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park’s Solar and Energy Efficiency Project includes the installation of a 60KW solar panel array, installing a more efficient back-up generator, and replacing existing fixtures with updated energy efficient LED lighting, HVAC, and gas hot water heaters. These energy efficiency improvements will replace the Park’s large diesel generator that currently runs 24 hours per day, seven days a week creating substantial cost savings. Construction is estimated to take five months before it is completed, but is not expected to disturb visitors to the Park.

This project is a first of its kind for the California State Park system and will make Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park the first “green” State Park, running almost exclusively on solar power.

Finances:

Bridgeport Covered Bridge project total cost: $ 4,128,000
State funds: $ 3,582,000
Federal grant: $ 546,000
Construction phase: $ 3,378,000)
Malakoff Solar project total cost: $ 1,106,197
(Construction phase: $ 743,197)

—Save Our Bridges

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