Rehabilitation of the Bridge at South Yuba River SP

South Yuba River Covered Bridge image


Bridgeport Covered Bridge Restoration and Rehabilitation Project


Jan. 10, 2020: Completion of Bridgeport Covered Bridge Restoration Project Pushed Back

Although there has been progress in the restoration of the historic bridge, California State Parks announced today that the project will not be completed by this spring, as previously scheduled. 

State Parks is working with the contractor to develop a recovery schedule to minimize the extension of the completion date.  While a revised completion date is not currently available, it is likely that the project will not be finished until the second half of 2020.  State Parks will be working closely with our partner, the Save Our Bridge Committee, to ensure any new timelines are communicated and our bridge is fully restored.      

State Parks and the contractor are continuing work towards a safe and successful completion of the restoration of this invaluable historic asset to the State of California. 

Here’s the progress that has been made so far:

  • The Bridgeport Covered Bridge currently has a Temporary Steel Support Bridge installed inside the wood bridge structure, with working platforms suspended from the Temporary Support Bridge. 
  • Concrete footings have been installed on the south side of the River to augment the existing footings at the steel support columns. The footings will be providing the main shoring support for the bridge during reconstruction. 
  • The contractor is currently working on an Engineering Shoring System Work Plan that will allow for the safe completion of the disassembly process, as well as the reconstruction of the historic wood covered bridge structure. 

State Parks appreciates the incredible commitment and support of the community and the Save Our Bridge Committee. We continue the efforts to restore the Bridgeport Covered Bridge and will keep our community informed as more information becomes available. We thank the public for their patience as we work towards restoring this historic landmark.

Previous Updates


May 30, 2019: South Parking Lot at South Yuba River State Park to Close Temporarily for Bridgeport Covered Bridge Renovation on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Starting Wednesday, June 12, California State Parks will temporarily close the south parking lot to day-use parking at South Yuba River State Park while the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge is renovated. Originally built in 1862, the bridge was closed to public access after a timber survey in September 2011 revealed significant structural damage. Thanks to the support of the Nevada County community, the Save our Bridge Campaign Committee, and the Legislature, the $6.9 million restoration project, funded with a combination of state and federal funds, is now underway to make the bridge safe again for pedestrian access. Construction is expected to be completed by April 2020.

Bridgeport Covered Bridge Renovation Map
Click on map above to enlarge.
The south parking lot will be closed during the renovation but the north lot will remain open. Those heading into the river must use the portage areas at Family Beach and Kneebone Beach for their safety. Signs will be posted to direct visitors.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to visit this popular park: 

Parking in the South Lot

  • Will be closed due to construction.

Visitor Center and Restrooms

  • The visitor center will be open to the public during the renovation, seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The restrooms near the visitor center will also be open during the renovation. Normal park day-use hours will be unaffected.

Access to Kneebone Beach and Family Beach

  • During the renovation, construction crews will be working on and under the bridge. For the public’s safety, there will be two portage areas (access points to enter and exit the water) for park aquatic users located at Kneebone Beach and Family Beach.
  • Visitors are being asked to use these portage areas instead of traveling down the river and under the potentially hazardous construction area.
  • For the park visitor’s safety, the area around the bridge will be fenced off and closed. Any park visitor in violation of this will be subject to a citation.

Additional Tips

  • The north parking lot will still be open for visitors.
  • Due to the south lot closure, State Parks is encouraging visitors to carpool, rideshare or use the shuttle bus, when available, due to the limited amount of parking available. Thank you for your patience and understanding during the renovation.
  • As always, please recreate safely and protect you and your loved ones. Always wear a properly fitted life jacket, even if you’re a strong swimmer. The rivers are running dangerously cold and fast due to the large amounts of snow and rain received this year. Be sure to actively supervise children at all times. For more safety tips, click here.

The reconstruction project on the Bridgeport Covered Bridge is moving forward. A construction contract was awarded to Spectra Company in the fall of 2018. The total project cost is $6.9 million. Spectra Company will begin mobilizing materials and equipment this spring in preparation of starting construction in late spring or early summer, once water levels are safe. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

We will continue to update you on the construction process as information becomes available.

We thank the Nevada County community, the Save our Bridge Campaign Committee and everyone who has supported us to restore this historic bridge so that many future generations can experience this one-of-a-kind site.

South Yuba River Covered Bridge ImagePROJECT DESCRIPTION 

The Bridgeport Covered Bridge was originally built in 1862. Located in South Yuba River State Park, the bridge spans 226 feet and is 16 feet wide. The Bridgeport Covered Bridge is the only remaining single-span Howe Truss-Burr Arch covered timber bridge of this size in the nation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Structures. It is a major attraction used by 150,000 visitors each year as a pedestrian bridge across the South Yuba River in Nevada County, California.

The bridge was closed to public access after a timber survey in September 2011 revealed significant structural damage. The park desires to use the structure for pedestrian access and horse drawn wagons. The project seeks to restore and rehabilitate the existing structure. All repairs will be reviewed and approved by a California State Parks Historian to maintain conformance to the South Yuba River Covered Bridge ImageDepartment of the Interior Standards for Historical Preservation strategies.

The restoration and rehabilitation project includes:

  • Installation of temporary shoring
  • Replacing fracture-critical elements (cast iron tension elements)
  • Replacing decayed wood sections in wood trusses
  • Replacing fracture-critical bolts
  • Rebuilding top chord and roof
  • Rehabilitation of existing abutments
  • Repair items discovered during course of construction

Image Gallery

  • Bridgeport Bridge entrance image in the 1984
    Bridgeport Bridge entrance image from 1984.
  • Newspaper clip for 1970 art fundraiser image
    A newspaper clip from September 1970 about an art fundraiser at the bridge.
  • Alfreida Kneebone with calf image 1930s
    Alfreida Kneebone with a calf in front of the bridge in the
    early 1930s. The pioneer Kneebone family settled in
    Bridgeport. Andrew Reed Kneebone came to the U.S.
    in 1871 from Cornwall, England, and married Victoria
    Marie Cole, who grew up on a farm near Bridgeport.
    The Cole family occupied a large farmhouse, where they
    collected tolls for use of the covered bridge. Andrew and
    Victoria’s son, Alfred, and his wife, Lucy, took over the
    ranch at Bridgeport. By 1926, Alfred and Lucy developed
    the extremely popular Bridgeport Swim Resort – several
    cottages and a dance pavilion- about ¼ mile upriver from
    the covered bridge near the swimming hole. They also
    built a small grocery store and a gas station. Photo from
    the South Yuba River California Park Archive,
    courtesy of the Kneebone family.
  • Bridgeport Bridge with banner image
    Entrance to the Bridgeport Covered Bridge, which was closed to pedestrian traffic in the
    fall of 2011 when structural deficiencies were discovered during a timber survey.
  • Historic image of the bridge
    The Bridgeport Covered Bridge was originally built in 1862 with Douglas-fir trusses
    and wrough-iron rods, and covered in sugar pine shakes
  • Bridgeport Bridge image in the 1930s
    The Brideport Covered Bridge in the 1930s at its extended length of 251 feet with the weather
    wings. The wings were removed during the restoration of the bridge in the 1970s. Image taken
    from the north side of the South Yuba River. Photo from the South Yuba River California Park
    Archive, courtesy of the Kneebone family.
  • Image of Inside of the bridge
    Inside look at the bridge. It was originally 251 feet long but became 229 feet long after
    removal of the weather wings at each end. It utilizes a unique combination of truss and
    arch construction. It's the longest single-span, wooden covered bridge in the world and
    is listed as a California Historical Landmark, an entry in the National Register of
    Historic Places, and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
  • Historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge image with toll sign
    Built by Virginian David Isaac John Wood in 1862, the Bridgeport Covered Bridge was part of
    the Virginia Turnpike Company toll road which served the northern mines and the
    Nevada Comstock Lode. Tolls were collected between Marysville and Virginia City, Nevada.
  • Historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge image
    Historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge on January 10, 2019.