Healdsburg's Memorial Bridge is going to be closed to motor vehicles at times in June as preliminary work begins on a major rehabilitation of the historic span.
The city announced the bridge will be closed weekdays for two weeks, beginning June 9, although it will remain open to bicycles and pedestrians.
The closure will allow contractors to build a new conduit for electrical and cable TV wires across the 93-year-old bridge, in preparation for a retrofit and upgrade later in the summer expected to shut it to traffic for 12-to-18 months, according to Assistant City Manager David Mickaelian.
“The bridge will be closed permanently for a significant amount of time,” he said.
The first closure for the utility work will be on weekdays, June 9-13 and June 16-20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On weekends, traffic will resume as normal.
“Hopefully people will re-orient themselves to coming in the central Healdsburg Avenue exit, rather than the bridge exit,” said Carla Howell, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “People will be able to get to and from almost all the businesses.”
The bridge was completed in 1921 and became part of the Old Redwood Highway. It was superseded by the more modern freeway bridge to the west but is still cherished by local residents.
Preservationists rallied over the years to keep the vintage, steel-truss structure from being torn down and replaced with a modern, flat concrete bridge.
In 2011, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The repair and retrofit approved by the City Council involves bolstering the rusting structure to withstand earthquakes, flooding and erosion. It includes sandblasting and painting, repairing damaged structural members, installing a new deck and making railing safety improvements.
Meanwhile, a separate repair project by the county on the adjacent dam framework at Memorial Beach is expected to get underway in June, according to Sonoma County Parks Manager Bert Whitaker. He said the $60,000 to $80,000 job will replace metal hardware and eroded concrete.