Healdsburg Memorial Bridge project delayed a year

  • Cyclists pedal across Healdsburg's Memorial Bridge Monday March 17:dthe bridge is in need of work.

    Mark Aronoff

The rehabilitation and a retrofit of the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge, originally scheduled to begin last month, is not expected to start for another year.

Healdsburg City Council members were given an update Monday on the $12 million project, which was delayed longer than anticipated by a federal environmental review.

Work on the 92-year-old span over the Russian River, which will shut down vehicle access across it for a year or a little longer, is now expected to start in June 2014.

"I'm glad it's still on track. I apologize to anyone for the delay," said City Councilman Gary Plass. "All projects have delay; as long as it's getting done."

"I'm happy to see it going forward. I thought it would be this summer. You have to take the time to do it right,"" said Councilman Shaun McCaffery.

If anything, the delay may have provided a reprieve for bicyclists, as well as pedestrians, who consider the iconic span a critical link over the river at the southern edge of town.

Still unknown is how they will cross the river during construction. Motorists have a convenient alternative — Highway 101, less than a mile downstream.

But cyclists potentially have no other choice for crossing, other than riding 10 miles out Westside Road, to Wohler Bridge, near Forestville.

"To have that out of commission 13 to 14 months will be a severe inconvenience to a lot of folks," Councilman Tom Chambers said Monday.

City officials were rebuffed in their attempts to use the old upstream railroad bridge as an alternate for bikes and pedestrians.

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