Nevada City, CA — The historic highway 49 bridge built-in 1927 has finally collapsed into the South Yuba River, confirming over 50 years of fears by locals that the bridge was doomed. No injuries were reported.
For decades, many Nevada County residents were convinced that “this is the year” that the old tourist attraction would tumble into the raging winter waters of the Yuba River. With each passing rainstorm, locals would predict the demise of the historic bridge.
At the end of every rainy season, the fact that the bridge survived only heightened the anxieties of locals.
“I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that the bridge’s time has come,” said long-time Nevada City resident Toby “Doob” Carnvale at the popular downtown bar the Mineshaft. “I said it in 1983, 1997, 2010, and even this year. But would anyone listen to me? Nope. Never. I bet they’ll listen to me now, I’ll tell ya.”
2018/19 has featured about average rainfall for the Sierra Nevada Foothills; however, above-average snowfall in the mountains, coupled with recent warm rains, has fueled flooding speculation. When that didn’t materialize, Nevada County residents took to social media to vent their anxieties.
“I just kept waiting and waiting for the bridge to fail,” said Cottage Street Marg Brandt between puffs of her Pall Mall cigarette. “I told anyone who’d listen to stay off that bridge. Then, when no one would listen, I started posting pictures of the 1997 flood to scare people. You know, that’s when the water came up over the bridge. I’m scared, so I figured they should be scared too. Anyhow, I’m not one to say I told you so, but I told you so.”
CalTrans says it plans on rebuilding the bridge using funds recouped from the now-defunct California High-Speed Rail project. However, they provided no timeline for completion.