July 13, 2012

I don’t generally get jazzed by bridge construction but the Spanish Creek Bridge is an exception.  It spans 354 feet — longer than a football field! — across Spanish Creek, which meets Indian Creek to form the east branch of the north fork of the Feather River halfway between my home in Indian Valley and Quincy, the Plumas County seat.


The $29 million bridge project features an elegant double arch eight feet square at the base made of solid concrete embedded with over 1 million pounds of rebar.  How that much concrete can be so graceful is beyond me!


Most motorists driving California’s Highway 70 will never see it.  If they are paying attention at all their focus will probably be the iconic “wye” railroad trestle, where the Union Pacific line goes south to Oakland and the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe line heads north.  It’s just upstream from the new bridge, which replaces one built in 1932 during the Great Depression as a Works Progress Administration project.  It connected Quincy, the Plumas County seat, to state Highway 70 through the Feather River Canyon. 


Photo by Melissa Prado Little, 2009

The bridge, funded primarily through President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is well worth a look.  California Department of Transportation and U.S. Forest Service officials must agree: They have build four lovely benches on an overlook that gives a great view of the double arch.  Our tax dollars at work recognizing aesthetic beauty!