HIRSCHDALE, Calif. — Nevada County wants to demolish two dilapidated bridges east of Truckee, rather than replace them.
The two bridges on Hirschdale Road span the Truckee River and the Union Pacific Railroad and date back to the 1920s. The county had been planning to replace the two bridges, using federal funding at an estimated $7 million, but are now considering another option.
“They really don’t go anywhere, so we’ve been trying to find an other alignment,” said Doug Farrell, director of Nevada County Public Works.
What the county came up with was a solution to a previous problem. A few years back, when hundreds of trucks rumbled through the small community of Hirschdale to a Teichert mine, the county worked with the aggregate company to create a new road through U.S. Forest Service Property from Boca Reservoir.
Now Farrell said the county could take that road over, pave it and create access to the other side of the Truckee River now accessed by the bridges, all at about $2.5 million, without having to build new bridges.
“We can’t leave the bridges — they are a hazard, particularly to the railroad,” Farrell said.
Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens said if the bridge over the railroad broke, the county would be fined heavily by Union Pacific.
“We could rack up $1 million in fines just like that,” Owens said.
Now the county has to confirm with Caltrans the federal funding can be used to demolish the bridges and pave the new route, rather than build new bridges, Farrell said, and he’s confident that will happen.
If all goes according to plan, construction could start in 2012, putting false work under the bridges, demolishing them and paving Hinton Road.
Residents have asked where recreational users would park under the new plan when they want to access the river, and how they’d be kept off the private Iceland Road that goes down the south side of the Truckee River Canyon.
Owens and Farrell said those details would be worked out during the design and environmental review processes.