WINTERS — Winters is losing a century-old bridge and gaining a new one with similar architecture at Putah Creek.
Close to 150 people turned out Thursday for the Winters Road Bridge groundbreaking ceremony. Solano County owns the southern half of the old bridge and Winters the northern half, with the county taking the lead on the replacement project.
A handful of area dignitaries, including Solano County Supervisors Linda Seifert and John Vasquez, Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, and state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, addressed the crowd, which included construction workers, engineers and supporters of the project.
Just about everyone who has had a hand in the project got a chance to throw some dirt with one of a dozen ceremonial golden shovels, with the old bridge serving as a backdrop.
“You have to go back over a hundred years. Both these bridges provided economic opportunities and transportation and a linkage between the two counties,” Vasquez said before the program began. “They did then and they continue to. The trestle bridge now serves as a pedestrian/bike bridge.”
In his remarks to the crowd, Vasquez quoted 105-year-old stories from the Winters Express. He said that in 1908, when the old bridge opened, there was a citywide party with music and dancing and a barbecue for 3,000 people.
“So we have something to look forward to,” he said, inducing chuckles throughout the audience.
The new bridge is set to open in 2015.
Seifert, who served as emcee for the event, spoke of the memories the old bridge will take with it.
“When we look to the construction of the new bridge, we will make sure the history is remembered forever and ever,” she said.
Aguiar-Curry said the bridge welcomed her family to Winters in 1957 as they moved to town for her father to become an agricultural instructor.
“Fabulous memories for us,” she said.
It’s a project that has been 12 years in the making, partly because of environmental studies related to Putah Creek. When the state released a list of structurally deficient bridges in 2007, the Winters Road Bridge had the lowest rating among Solano County-owned bridges.
The bridge got built in 1908. Putah Creek scoured down and exposed timber pilings under the bridge’s pier supports and the county determined the damage can’t be repaired.
Workers this year will focus on putting up a temporary replacement bridge and starting the demolition of the old bridge, county Engineering Manager Matt Tuggle said. The steel truss replacement bridge will need supports to span the 400-foot-long gap, he said.
Then workers next year can turn their attention to constructing the permanent bridge. This new bridge will mimic the historic bridge’s most striking architectural feature: the three graceful, concrete arches on the underside.
However, Tuggle said, the new bridge will have five arches instead of three. That’s because of modern design standards that require more foundation support, he said.
The three-year project was originally touted to cost $12.2 million, but has since jumped to $15.3 million, with money coming from the Federal Highway Bridge Program. Vasquez said the higher price tag includes rebuilt approaches to the bridge on both sides.
“It’s the project itself from bank to bank is one cost,” Vasquez said. “So you’re going to have sidewalks leading all the way on this side and sidewalks on that side. So it’s all those improvements outside the bridge.”
Barry Eberling contributed to this report. Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.
Note: Corrects which entity owns which half of the bridge.