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News.bytes Extra, issue 450

ARRA funds restore river crossing on Bizz Johnson Trail

A project funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) is restoring an historic icon on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail in Lassen County.  Work is nearing completion on the $1.6 million undertaking to restore a 1913-era railroad trestle that provides a dramatic Susan River crossing for hikers, bicyclists runners and equestrians who use the scenic trail.  The trestle's eastern end, a wooden structure, was destroyed by wildfire in July 2000 and funding for repairs had not been available until the enactment of ARRA.

A crane lowers a huge girder in a river valley
On Tuesday, Sept. 21, a major milestone  was accomplished when an 85-foot-long steel girder was hoisted into place and secured, linking the main trestle to the anchor point when the wooden supports once stood.

A cyclist crosses a wooden bridge across a river gorge
Prior to the fire, the trestle was a high point, literally, for Bizz Johnson visitors such as this cyclist.  The 270-foot-long bridge crosses the river at a height of 70 feet.

a partially-burned railroad trestle ends in mid-air
For 10 years the trestle could not be used. Recreation visitors used a trail detour and a historic highway bridge to cross the Susan River.

Two men in helmets work on a concrete pour - plastic-wrapped structure is in the background
A major first step in restoration was  encasing the bridge in plastic sheeting to capture the old paint that was sandblasted away.  The old part of the bridge was repainted.

A metal girder stretches out over a rocky gorge
With the new girder  in place  the restored trestle is taking shape.  Decking and railing installation is underway.

The restored bridge will be re-opened in time for the annual Bizz Johnson Marathon set for Saturday, Oct. 9.

- Jeff Fontana, BLM Northern California District, 9/27/10

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 450