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Placer Sentinel

Placer County Takes Step Toward Removing Decades-Old Bridge Debris From American River

Mar 13, 2024 08:52AM ● By County of Placer News Release

AUBURN, CA (MPG) - Placer County has taken another step toward removing metal and concrete bridge debris that has been sitting in the American River for 60 years.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors took action Tuesday to approve a contract with Dokken Engineering of Folsom for environmental consulting that will result in a plan to remove remnants from the state Route 49 bridge that was washed out after the Hell Hole Dam failed during a weather event in 1964.

Shortly after that incident, Congress approved construction of the Auburn Dam, and the decision was made to leave the bridge debris in place as it would have been covered by water deep in the Auburn Reservoir. The Auburn Dam, however, has never been built.

“This project is a true environmental remediation project,” said senior civil engineer Cheyenne Toney. “We’ve worked with the Protect American River Canyons group to obtain legislative action for state funding, and we’re pleased to be in a position to lead the removal of this debris that has been a safety concern for a long period of time.”

Under the $901,703 contract, Dokken will be tasked with helping the county work with other agencies that oversee water quality and land management to design a debris removal program and obtain permits for the work. The project will include strict requirements to ensure removal methods are safe for the environment and will not do damage to the river or riverbed.

Funding was secured in February 2023 through an $8 million transfer of Priority Legislative Budget Project Funds from Caltrans to the county.

The project is anticipated to begin in 2026.

For more information on the project, visit the Protect American River Canyons website by clicking here.

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