‘Scouring’ Might Damage Fernbridge, Reports Caltrans

Evidence of erosion around Fernbridge’s base. (Photo from Caltrans

Information from Caltrans:

This winter’s powerful and near-constant storms took their toll on roads across our District. As a result, many of our area’s rivers flooded – in one case, the Eel River closed Route 211 at Fernbridge. The high, swiftly-moving floodwaters eroded riverbanks up and down the river’s length, and the banks of the Eel at Fernbridge were no exception.

We invited members of the Structures Maintenance & Investigations team up to check on Fernbridge’s well-being. They discovered scouring (erosion of the bank around the structure) on the Ferndale (south/west) side of the bridge.

While the bridge is perfectly safe to drive on, unchecked scouring can lead to more notable damage to the bridge. Structures Maintenance recommended we begin construction of a rock wall at the southern abutment of the bridge to reinforce the bank and reduce the occurrence of scouring. We partnered with West Coast Contractors, Inc. to immediately begin placing 1,000-2,000 tons (yes, TONS) of rock to protect the bank and the abutment.

We expect the work to take a few weeks, but all work for this portion of the project is taking place off to the side of the bridge on private property, which means it is unlikely you will encounter any delays while this work is being done.

We’d like to remind the public that the area is an active construction site and, again, is private property. No public river access exists at the southern end of Fernbridge.