Squaw Bridge will be re-built this summer
The entire top section of the bridge that spans Squaw Creek on Squaw Valley Road will be replaced this summer by a construction crew contracted by Placer County, creating traffic delays for motorists.
The project, which is necessary because winter road sand and salt has weakened the structure, will cost $2.1 million, according to design engineer Kevin Ordway. Demolition and construction are expected to begin on July 5 and last through Oct. 15.
“The salt gets in and corrodes the steel reinforcing,” said Rick Dondro, assistant director of public works for Placer County. “That’s the problem with the deck.”
The old abutments will remain in the creek because removing them would cause too much environmental disturbance and they are not in need of replacement, said Ordway. But, everything else will be re-built.
A separate, parallel bike bridge will remain open during the work, said Placer County project manager Alice Atherton.
Since the road spans an environmentally sensitive creek, contractor Granite Construction will have to delicately remove the bridge without letting any material fall into the stream.
The bridge will also be widened, to allow for the three lanes of traffic down Squaw Valley Road during busy ski days. Squaw Valley Ski Corp. adds a lane of traffic to the ski area in the morning and a lane of traffic out of the valley in the afternoon on some busy ski days.
The construction this summer will cause traffic delays, Placer County officials said.
“The bridge will remain open but there will be times it will be down to one lane,” said Dondro.
But Andy Mond, events planner for the Village at Squaw Valley, said tourists and local residents should not have too much trouble getting to the upcoming events at the village, which include movie nights and music festivals.
“They’ve been doing road work in the valley for a while now, and it doesn’t seem to hold traffic up at all,” he said.
Following the bridge re-construction, workers will resurface the road from the bridge up into the valley with 2 inches of asphalt. The overlay will repair trenching and road cuts that are part of a project that is putting power, telephone and cable lines underground, said Dondro.
The road improvements are financed by county traffic fees that currently stand at greater than $4,000 for each new dwelling unit that is built in the county.