Bridging the Ridges
It’s been a long road, but the effort to upgrade the Butte Creek Bridge over Doe Mill Road is finally complete.
The bridge has been open for a couple of weeks, but the Bureau of Land Management hosted its official dedication ceremony Friday morning. The Department of Transportation’s Orrin Lee said funding for the project was a big hurdle, as was the confusion of who owned the bridge.
BLM Spokesman Jeff Fontana said the United States Forest service relinquished ownership in 2009, which helped put the project in high gear. The respective involved agencies and a host of volunteers lobbied for funding and construction began in summer of 2014
In all, the project cost about $3 million. It cost $2 million to revamp the bridge, plus another $1 million in roadwork.
“This road connects Paradise to Forest Ranch and provides opportunities for recreation, timber, power production, and serves as a second escape route,” Lee said.
Teri Faulkner, who lives in the area, said she was impressed with the bridge, which at one time was nicknamed “orphan bridge” because no one wanted to claim ownership.
She said she hopes the bridge will do what it is intended to do.
“I think it’s a positive thing,” she said. “It provides access to both ridges
The Butte Creek Bridge was build in 1935 as part of the Ponderosa Way Project, also known as the “world’s largest firebreak,” spanning about 768 miles.
The bridge meets federal highway standards and has a 40-ton capacity. The bridge was originally a 15-ton capacity, but was downgraded to three tons in 2009
As part of the project, another $400,000 went into repairing the Whiskey Flats Bridge on Jordan Hill Road, which now has a 17-ton capacity. The capacity of that bridge was also downgraded to three tons in 2009.
Fifth District Supervisor Doug Teeter said it was nice to see the project accomplished. Now it is a matter of finding the funds to maintain the bridge.
Answering a question from the small crowd, Teeter said the county will not take over responsibility for the bridge.