A $3.2 million project to repair a major river crossing at Camp Roberts wrapped up this month, with its reopening set for Saturday, according to the base.
The new 561-foot-long High Water Bridge has been deemed “critical infrastructure” by base officials who say the crossing is the most direct route over Nacimiento River from the main gate to shooting ranges at Camp Roberts, an expansive 43,000-acre National Guard training post north of Paso Robles.
Construction on the bridge began in November and finished in July.
Original to Camp Roberts’ 1941 construction as a World War II training base, the bridge was deemed inoperable in 1998. The recent work to rebuild it included adding a 14-foot-wide vehicle lane and a 6-foot-wide pedestrian lane. A new deck was also built, along with new guard rails, curbs, lights and other features, according to a contract statement provided by Camp Roberts.
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The bridge’s existing supports were reused with minor repairs.
High Water Bridge has also been referred to as the H. Street Bridge, Bridge Road Bridge and Artillery Bridge, according to the post.
A wooden trestle bridge was first built in 1941 approximately 200 feet north of where High Water Bridge stands today. Several weeks into construction, however, the Nacimiento River flooded and destroyed the bridge, according to the post. That led to the construction of High Water Bridge, which was completed in February 1941.
By 1998, when High Water Bridge was 57 years old, officials said it was too deteriorated to safely use, so Camp Roberts’ low-water bridge, located two miles to the west, became the main river crossing. But using the low-water bridge proved troublesome for troops and emergency responders, officials said, because its route added fuel costs and travel time. In 2012, The Tribune wrote about the re-construction of the low-water bridge, which had been damaged in a spillover from Nacimiento Lake.
“The repair of the High Water Bridge at Camp Roberts has been among the top construction priorities for years,” said Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, adjutant general of the California National Guard.
Contracts on the High Water Bridge repairs included work by some local firms, including Taylor & Syfan Consulting Engineers in San Luis Obispo and Wysong Construction in Atascadero.