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Background on the Albion Bridge Project


May, 2009. Caltrans announces that it plans to replace the Albion Bridge and a nearby bridge over Salmon Creek. Both are near the rural community of Albion.

Albion Bridge

The Albion River Bridge is the last major timber bridge in California.

The Albion Bridge is a magnificent monument to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of those who originally built Highway 1, a symbol or the timber era of Mendocino County, and a precious historic asset of California.

The reasons for replacing the Albion Bridge have not yet been made clear, but the reasons for preserving it are already clear.

If you are interested in helping to preserve this bridge, through expressing your support for preservation, please provide your contact information.


May 7, 2009. An informational open house sponsored by Caltrans was held in Mendocino. Caltrans made the following points:

·      Both the Albion and Salmon Creek Bridges have safety and functionality scores that make them candidates for replacement. There are no immediate safety concerns, but substantial ongoing maintenance is required.

·      The specific safety issues with the Salmon Creek Bridge were not specified.

·      The Albion Bridge has a steel truss across the center section that is sufficiently corroded that replacement in the not-too-distant future is required. The truss section was salvaged from an existing bridge (apparently in Oregon) because of the scarcity of steel during WW II when the bridge was built.

·      The wooden timbers in the Albion Bridge are in good condition.

·      The existing bridges are “functionally obsolete.” When asked what this meant, Mr. Fielder explained that they do not meet current standards in terms of shoulder width and railing design. He also mentioned that they would like to have a pedestrian walkway to accommodate the Coastal Trail.

·       Among the proposed alternatives presented for both the Albion and Salmon Creek bridges was a concrete arch bridge very similar in design to the original concrete arch bridges built in many places along Hwy 1, including Russian Gulch.

·         Caltrans is in the early stages of a complex and long process. It will be many years, perhaps 6 to 10 years, before construction begins. However, the planning process is under way. Personnel are assigned and working now on preparing initial studies and plans and environmental reports.

The attendees clearly expressed their desire to see the Albion Bridge repaired rather than replaced.

Full report on the open house

Caltrans website

May, 2009. The first step in the replacement process for these bridges is a "informational open house" to be held by Caltrans on Thursday, May 7, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Mendocino Recreation and Community Center, 998 School St., Mendocino. Plans for the Albion River and Salmon Creek Bridges will be presented.

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