Supervisors discount mercury concerns, OK replacement of Cambria bridge

County supervisors Tuesday unanimously rejected attempt to overturn county staff’s approval of a plan to replace a narrow bridge on Main Street near Santa Rosa Creek Road in Cambria.

The old bridge, built in 1922, with two 12-foot lanes and no shoulders, does not meet current standards. Plans for the new bridge call for a 5-foot shoulder on each side. The new concrete bridge — 37.5-feet wide overall and 150 feet long — would not have an in-creek pillar, allowing more space for flood waters to flow underneath.

The existing bridge spans about 90 feet overall, with a center pier that’s subject to creek-bed erosion.

Lynne Harkins of Cambria appealed the county planning department hearing officer’s April approval of the project, saying it will stir up mercury in the soil and destroy too many large trees.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson, citing reports from Regional Water Quality Control Board and county staff, said that Harkens’ calculations on “the environmental effects of mercury here are speculative.”

The $3.2 million project could still be appealed to the California Coastal Commission. In February, county staff said construction could begin in the spring of 2011.