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Sonoma’s historic Watmaugh Bridge’s years are numbered

in Community

To some longtime Sonoma residents, the Watmaugh Bridge is a historically unique treasure that provides a link to the city’s colorful past. To others it is a deteriorating, seemingly dangerous eyesore in dire need of replacement.

The steel-truss bridge, which is situated just outside Sonoma city limits on Watmaugh Road between Arnold Drive and Broadway, turns 94 this year, but its years are numbered.

Construction of a replacement bridge is scheduled to begin in 2024.

The county has planned to replace it since 2003, when road officials found that water had seeped through the concrete and rusted the rebar running along the underside of the bridge’s surface. This caused chunks of concrete to break off and fall into the creek bed.

“Bridge projects take a very long time to bring to construction,” said Janice Thompson, deputy director of Sonoma Public Infrastructure (formerly General Services). “Environmental concerns can take years to work through. This bridge is considered historic, and we have worked closely with the community, (Sonoma County) Supervisor (Susan) Gorin’s office, Sonoma Landmark Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure the proper process for removal of a historic bridge.”

Thompson said a video recordation of the bridge was performed as part of the process.

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