Local “Save Our Bridge” committee launches letter campaign to save Bridgeport

This week, a community committee called “Save Our Bridge” is launching a letter writing and phone call campaign to State Legislators in an effort to save the iconic Bridgeport wooden covered bridge.

State Parks closed the bridge in 2011 after engineers found severe and unsafe structural problems. Engineers estimate it will cost over $1 million to restore the State and National Landmark, considered the longest single span wooden bridge in the world.

Recently, Governor Brown allocated funds needed for complete restoration and reopening of the bridge in his proposed budget.

Governor Brown has proposed $318,000 in the 2014-2015 budget and $943,000 in the 2016-2017 budget year. These funds, in addition to the $545,000 Federal Grant and $60,000 in matching funds already committed, is enough to restore and re-open the bridge. However, the Governor’s budget is only proposed and the legislature needs to approve and pass this area of the budget.

A grass roots campaign committee known as, ‘Save Our Bridge’ is urging the community to contact State Legislators on the Budget Committees to let them know why it is important to save the bridge before Budget Committee Hearings take place on March 20 and April 23.

“The Governor’s proposed budget would restore and reopen the Bridgeport Covered Bridge. Now we need everyone’s help to make sure the funds stay in the final budget. That is why we are asking the community to write the State Budget Committee today with a simple message: Save Our Bridge!” said Caleb Dardick, SYRCL’s Executive Director.

‘Save Our Bridge’ is a band of concerned citizens, elected officials and local organizations such as South Yuba River Parks Association (SYRPA), South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and Bear Yuba Land Trust working to support the State Parks to fully restore and reopen the bridge.

“Continued support from our community and our local leaders is vital to ensuring the bridge’s future,” said Dave Anderson, SYRPA President.

Already, the committee has gained unanimous support from local officials including: Grass Valley City Council, Nevada City Council, Truckee City Council and the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. All governing bodies have written resolutions in favor of bridge restoration and have urged lawmakers to support the critical work.

South Yuba River State Park attracts up to 890,000 annual visitors and people from all over the world come to see Bridgeport, an important Gold Rush era toll bridge on the Virginia Turnpike built in 1862 by sawmill owner David Wood. South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport is considered a significant driver of the local tourism economy.

For more information, contact information for the key Budget Committee leaders, “talking points” and a sample letter to send the State Budget Committee, please see the “Save Our Bridge” page at: www.southyubariverstatepark.org

-“Save Our Bridge”

(Photo: Michael Weissenborn)

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