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Historic Bridgeport Bridge to close
The Bridgeport Bridge will no longer be accessible to pedestrians as of Friday, according to California State Parks officials.
The western Nevada County icon, one of 10 remaining covered bridges in California, has structural deficiencies that will force its closure, said Matt Green, Sierra District superintendent.
"It will be fenced off," he said.
The bridge, built in 1862, is the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, according to the California State Parks.
Closure was considered after a maintenance person with South Yuba River State Park noticed twisting of the bridge, as well as some shifting, said Dave Anderson, president of the South Yuba River Park Association.
"You can see the structural problems," he said. "If you look at where the bridge meets the shore, you can see where it's twisted."
After maintenance workers reported the findings, a preliminary engineering analysis confirmed the problems, Anderson said.
The bridge will be closed for as long as it takes to secure funding for a full engineering analysis, which could cost $20,000, Green said. He labeled the cost of actual repairs to the bridge as "large."
"We are hoping for funding, but obviously in this climate, it will be an issue," he said. "I know it means a lot to the community; it's too bad. But, we have to shut it down."
Earlier this year, the state announced plans to close 70 parks including Yuba River State Park, where the bridge is located.
Anderson said he was also disappointed to hear about the closure of bridge, which he considers a local icon.
"This is the second whammy in a pretty big double whammy," he said. "The first is the proposed closure of the park. I just hope the state is committed to pursuing maintenance of the bridge."
In 1972, the bridge was refurbished and raised a few feet, Anderson said. The bridge was closed to vehicles 18 months ago.
CONTACT reporter Matthew Renda at email@example.com or 477-4239.