WINTERS — Workers are ready to begin the deconstruction of the graceful, 1908 Winters Road Bridge crossing Putah Creek.
Solano County is replacing the concrete bridge, which is notable for the three arches each about 123 feet long on its underside. Putah Creek over the decades scoured down and exposed timber pilings under the bridge’s pier supports, prompting the county to deem the structure unsalvageable.
Workers will take down the old bridge in segments based on the arches, County Engineering Manager Matt Tuggle said. They’ll drop the segments to the creek, then break them up and haul them away.
“It’s going to be about a three- or four-week process, is my guess,” Tuggle said.
The bridge appears to be solid concrete, but that’s not the case. Tuggle said it also has a lot of earth fill on the inside. One of the first steps is to excavate this earth fill from the roadbed.
Last week, the county opened up a temporary bridge. It will carry Winters Road traffic over the creek during the period from when the old bridge is gone until a new bridge is constructed and opened.
This temporary bridge was made from steel at another location and placed across Putah Creek using rollers. It is called a Mabey bridge.
“Originally, those bridges were designed for the military,” Tuggle said. “It’s a style of bridge that’s almost like an Erector set.”
But this Mabey bridge and its foundation system had to be built to higher standards than usual, because it is to be in place for two to three years, Tuggle said.
During a typical year, the Winters Road Bridge project would stall during the winter as Putah Creek swelled with rain runoff. But the region is enduring the driest 13 consecutive months since weather records began in 1849.
“Droughts are bad in a lot of different ways, but for construction projects, they’re good,” Tuggle said.
Construction on the new bridge could begin as soon as the old bridge is demolished, Tuggle said. Initial work includes digging holes and creating the foundation system.
A depiction of the bridge-to-be shows a structure that reproduces the iconic arches on the underside of the old bridge. But the bridge deck looks different, with such touches as viewing areas that extend from the bridge in semi-circles.
The Winters Road Bridge replacement will cost $12.5 million, with money coming from the federal government.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.