Replace or Retrofit: What Should Happen to Watmaugh Bridge?

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently OK'ed an environmental impact report for a new bridge that's supposed to replace the ailing, historic Watmaugh Bridge.

In a unanimous vote this week, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors OK'ed an environmental impact report for a bridge project that's supposed to replace Watmaugh Bridge, the Sonoma Index Tribune reports. 

Watmaugh Bridge, the 83-year-old steel-truss bridge spanning Sonoma Creek, is a piece of Sonoma history and should be retrofitted, say its supporters.

However, the board of supervisors say that the bridge is ailing, and is a public safety issue. The new bridge is designed to be at 32 feet with 11-foot traffic lanes and two five-foot pedestrian/bike lanes, according to the Index Tribune. The current bridge is 22-feet wide and does not have pedestrian or bike lanes.

Proponents of the bridge say that the board of supervisors are not in a retrofit mindset, but instead want to replace the bridge without doing everything in their power to restore a piece of Sonoma history.

Now we put the question in front of the readers of Sonoma Valley Patch. Should the bridge be replaced? Or should it be retrofitted?

What are your thoughts?

Anna Gomez December 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Sasha G December 09, 2012 at 02:54 AM
It's unfortunate to hear that they are going to replace this historic bridge; my wish is that it would be retrofitted. I have lived on Broadway just up the road from this bridge for many years, and I've never thought of it as dangerous, and after years of driving on it, day or night, sunny or rainy, I never thought of it as an issue. While I could be wrong, I don't remember ever hearing that it caused an accident of any kind. I think a much better solution for Sonoma would be to retrofit the bridge. I will be sad to see it go, these historic pieces of Sonoma should be restored, not replaced.
Dee Baucher December 09, 2012 at 06:05 PM
It comes down to money. Its cheaper to tear it down and build a new one. Those making the county-level decisions do not have any investment in the sensibilities of our local community. They are determined to ignore the local public opinion and proceed as they see fit. Which is exactly why it was so important to have a local voice representing us at the table. (Something we really haven't had since Mike Cale represented us.)
Lauren Johannessen December 10, 2012 at 04:50 PM
It should definitely be retrofitted. I love that spot and also the houses nearby. I drive over the Watmaugh bridge frequently and have never experienced difficulties with the narrowness of the lanes and other vehicles or bikes. In fact, over the past few years I have kept track and there have never been other vehicles on the bridge at the same time as me. If the bridge failed during an earthquake, how many cars would likely be on the bridge? It's a short bridge over a creek, not a wide span, high above a river.


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