The Placer County Board of Supervisors awarded a $3 million design contract for a new bridge on Yankee Jims Road over the American River between Colfax and Foresthill.

The board unanimously awarded the contract to Quincy Engineering Inc. of Rancho Cordova, the most qualified firm.

The proposed project would replace a one-lane suspension bridge built in 1930. According to Placer County senior civil engineer Kevin Ordway, the bridge has one of the lowest safety ratings of any in-service bridge in the state.

“A few years ago when the Robbers Fire was on the south side of the American River, fire personnel from Colfax couldn’t respond because their engines were unable to cross the bridge,” said District 5 Supervisor and Board Chairwoman Jennifer Montgomery. “This project is a long time coming and I know the residents of Foresthill and Colfax, will be happy to see this move forward.”

The bridge has qualified for funding under the federal Highway Bridge Program.

Plans for the existing Yankee Jims Bridge haven’t been determined, but the structure is eligible as a historical landmark.

In the early 1900s, Placer County purchased the deed for Yankee Jims Road and Bridge from the Colfax Gold Mining Company for $7,000.

Yankee Jims Road and bridge are considered to be the only “other” way out of Foresthill for many (after Foresthill Road) and many will feel much better once the bridge is replaced. The road itself is very narrow and steep on both sides of the river, with many twists and turns. Large vehicles and trucks are not advised on many parts of the road and caution is advised for all, especially in the winter months.

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