Bridgeport Bridge Stabilization Groundbreaking
, September 2, 2014

Reported by Herb Lindberg,
Supported by text from Doug Moon, and Keri Brenner of The Union

On this day another landmark was reached toward returning this famous bridge to educational service as the nation's, and perhaps the world's, longest single-span covered wooden bridge.  This continuing progress is the result of intense effort by SYRPA's Save Our Bridge Committee, headed by Doug and Shirley Moon, and many people in Nevada County and elsewhere who have contributed their time and energy. 

The effort included a full year of community letter writing, phone calls, lobbying and rallying to get the attention of Sacramento lawmakers. Today's groundbreaking ceremony for Phase I (stabilization) of the two-stage $1.5 M project celebrates this effort and gives sincere thanks to these people. 

SRC Construction is expected to begin the stabilization process immediately, with a planned completion date of December 30.  Phase 2 (restoration) will begin soon thereafter, following planning, permitting and engineering in 2014-2015.  It was not immediately clear how long the restoration phase would take, but some at the ceremony speculated it could be two years.

[Click here to view, and download if you like, all the pictures in full size after only light editing.]

These participants chat as the audience settles in.  Left to right: Robert Bergman, Nevada City Council;
Alison Lehman, Nevada County Assistant Executive Officer;  Hank Weston, County Supervisor, District 4.

Half of Audience

Other Half of Audience

SOB Committee Chairman Doug Moon kicks off the ceremony

From Doug's notes:
It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to this Groundbreaking ceremony. We are here to celebrate the beginning of construction work that will ultimately SAVE OUR BRIDGE!
We will have a short program with a few words from our  State Park Representative and from our local Officials who have contributed so much to this campaign.   We will then have a Photo Opportunity in front of the bridge with shovels and hard hats. As a special treat after the Photo Op we will lead small-group tours into the bridge. Finally, you are welcome to join us for some cake and drinks after the program.

First I want to recognize a group of hard-working community members dedicated to SAVING OUR BRIDGE.  This is the Save Our Bridge Campaign Committee.  Most are among today's speakers or in the audience today.
South Yuba River Park Association President David Anderson
South Yuba River Citizens League Executive Director Caleb Dardick
Nevada City Councilman Robert Bergman
Regional Chambers of Commerce President Susan George
Bear Yuba Land Trust Outreach Coordinator Laura Brown
South Yuba River Park Directors Mickey Springer, Ginny Brown, Bill Stomatis, Paul Keasberry and Robert Coats
Community members Don Denton, Sandy Alves, Jean Wilson, Ron Ernst, and my beautiful wife Shirley Moon
This group has worked tirelessly over the past year to make this all happen! Let’s give them a big round of applause!

In addition to the Speakers listed in your program I would also like to recognize other Community Leaders and Elected Officials in the audience. They have all been big supporters of the Campaign to SAVE OUR BRIDGE.

Ed Scofield – Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 2
Terry Lampier – Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 3
Jennifer Horne – District Representative for Congressman LaMalfa
Alison Lehman – Nevada County Assistant Executive Officer
Terri Anderson – Nevada City Mayor
Jason Fouyer - Vice Mayor of the City of Grass Valley
Carol Scofield – South Nevada County Chamber of Commerce Director
Joanne Drummond - Executive Director - Fire Safe Council of Nevada County
Jerri Glover – Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce
Rem Scherzinger – General Manager – Nevada Irrigation District
Pascale Fusshoeler – YUBAnet
Keri Brenner – The Union Newspaper (For example, most of the speaker quotes here are taken from Keri's excellent article the next day about the ceremony.)

Also here today and a big part of our team, from the State Parks:
Marilyn Linkem –  Sierra District Superintendent
Dan Youngren – Supervising Ranger
Rod Tuttle – State Parks Construction Manager
Retired Supervising Ranger – Don Schmidt
Again, thank you all for joining us today.

Thanks also goes to Governor Jerry Brown, who has enthusiastically supported the project and was instrumental in getting the $1.5M released in time for bridge stabilization to be completed before heavy rains this year.

Doug Moon continues:  Next I would like to introduce someone who has been instrumental in the Committee’s success and has been our partner throughout this process. From California Department of Parks, Our first speaker is Sierra Gold Sector Superintendent - Matt Green

Avid supporter in Washington D.C. and here at home, Congressman Doug LaMalfa

Speeches were interrupted to present a certificate of appreciation to the SOB Committee,
accepted by Chairman Doug Moon on behalf of the members.

Chair of our Nevada County Board of Supervisors – Nate Beason
"We're on the verge of something great. It would not have happened if virtually all of the community didn't participate and we didn't have Hank Weston, who carried the water for the politicos."

District 4 Supervisor for Nevada County and our foremost advocate here and in the State Capital – Hank Weston
"I think it is so wonderful to see the collaborative work for something like this get through all the slug and slop that's necessary and come through to a good end."

Nevada City Councilman and SOB Committee Member – Robert Bergman
As part of the Save Our Bridge entourage to the state capital, Councilman Bergman presented a picture that he had taken of the splintered bridge after the flood of 1997 to demonstrate the bridge would probably not survive this winter's rains without immediate stabilization of current structural damage.

Legislative Director for State Assemblyman Brian Dahle – Cheri West
Several at the ceremony said it was Cheri who made them welcome and effective in the halls of the capitol in Sacramento.  Cheri, in turn, informed us that Brian Dahle lobbied collegues who served on the pivotal legislative budget subcommittee which had the ultimate decision on funding.  "Thanks for your tenacity," West told the crowd. "We were flooded with calls."

SYRCL Executive Director and our Political Guidance Counselor – Caleb Dardick
"This is a textbook case of a community coming together and overcoming enormous odds [to get the budget allocation].  Years ago we proved that people could save a (Yuba) river, then later that people could save a (Bridgeport) park, and today, that people could save a bridge."

Last but certainly not least –the man who started it all with a meeting around his dining room table -
the President of the South Yuba River Park Association – David Anderson
"We [Save Our Bridge members] must stay vigilant to monitor the construction process until the span is finally restored.  Our new motto, from Supervisor Hank Weston, is Save Our Bridge -- Get It Done.  I look forward to the day when we can stand on the bridge, close our eyes, and feel the history, hear the horses' hooves, the rattling of the wagons and go back into the soul and history of the bridge."

A relaxed photo in the shade before donning hard hats and shovels for the groundbreaking.
Doug LaMalfa    Dave Anderson    Doug Moon    Hank Weston
Nate Beason    Robert Bergman    Cheri West    Caleb Dardick    Matt Green

Ready for groundbreaking with the Bridgeport Covered Bridge behind them.

The happy group bounces their shovels off the rock-hard ground.  Stabilization will soon begin -- Hurrah!!

Four more Save Our Bridge contributors join in.
at left:  Ed Scofield    Carol Scofield,   at right:   Susan George     Terry Lampier

SOB Committee Doug Moon concludes with the closing remarks below.

We have accomplished so much in almost exactly one year!  And we still have much to do!  Let’s all commit to following this project through.  Stay engaged until the bridge is reopened. Make sure we are all back here for a ribbon cutting ceremony soon! Don’t let this project fail! Our new slogan is: