The California Preservation Foundation (CPF) has announced the winners of the 2023 Preservation Design Awards, recognizing the best in historic preservation, restoration, adaptive reuse, and rehabilitation. One of this year’s 16 winners is our very own Bridgeport Covered Bridge, recognized for craftsmanship and preservation technology. Winners demonstrate innovative responses to historic preservation in both the built and unbuilt realms of our heritage, prioritize equity and access, and open the possibilities of historic preservation in new, broad, and inclusive ways.
The Bridgeport Covered Bridge, built in 1862 and located in South Yuba River State Park, is the longest historic single-span covered bridge in the United States. The damaged structure was rehabilitated after being closed to all visitors for 10 years.
The design combines a Howe Truss with a Burr Arch. The connection of the Burr Arch spanning from concrete buttresses on either side of the river to the Howe Truss, created a symbiotic structural relationship that allowed for a longer, more stable span.
The wood had deteriorated over time with significant damage due to heavy flooding both in 1971 and 1997. It was closed to visitors in 2011 due to the compromised structural integrity. The project included raising the bridge on new abutments to mitigate flood damage, in situ replacement of deteriorated wood in kind. Existing iron and steel hardware was restored while new hidden moment frames and steel stiffeners were added.
You might recall my sharing in previous newsletters memories of helping to drive cattle across this bridge with my grandmother when I was younger. This beautiful landmark is a living part of our region’s history and I continue to be grateful to the “SOBs” (the Save Our Bridge Committee --- those who worked so hard to preserve it!).