A team of project managers attended a special informational meeting held Tuesday, July 24, at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. The purpose of the meeting was to update the public as to the team’s progress in making structural improvements to a 1923 bridge while maintaining its historical integrity.
The historic Oak Grove Bridge, built by Tulare County in 1923, is located 6.5 miles up Mineral King Road, spans the East Fork of the Kaweah River, and furnishes the only vehicular access to the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park.
Jason Vivian, an engineer with the County of Tulare and project manager, said once Alternative 1 was chosen, potential environmental impacts were reduced and less analysis was required than if an alternative was chosen preserving the existing bridge for pedestrians and building a separate structure for vehicles.
Shawn Cullers, engineering manager for Cornerstone Engineering who has been associated with the project since its inception in 2014, said all the structural deficiencies could be addressed in Alternative 1 while maintaining the historic appearance and integrity of the bridge.
Vivian said that all the technical studies are now complete and best-case scenario is the project could go out to bid by November 2019. If that happens, a temporary bridge could be in place and construction could begin on the old bridge as early as Spring 2020.