Bowman Road Bridges Rehabilitation Project


Bowman Road, Auburn, CA

City or County Responsible for Project

County of Placer


Bridge: Efficient and Sustainable Bridge Maintenance, Construction and Reconstruction Projects


Alice Atherton


County of Placer Public Works and Facilities Department


3091 County Center Drive Suite 220, Auburn, CA 95603



Project Description

In 2020 Placer County completed a rehabilitation of the Bowman Road Bridges focusing on cost effectiveness, sustainability, and minimized community disruption. The Auburn, CA road carries traffic to a school and local businesses, provides access to I-80, and is used by cyclists for commuting and recreation. The two bridges, which cross UPRR mainlines and were built in 1949, had deteriorated decks, seismic vulnerabilities, substandard roadway geometry and narrow shoulders. The County studied bridge replacement against rehabilitation options to find the most cost-effective, sustainable solution. In the end the County selected an option that was the most cost-effective and achieved the project goals of widened sidewalks, bike lanes, alignment improvements, and structural/seismic upgrades. Unique to this option was the use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers as an efficient and cost-effective way to strengthen the girders and upgrade them for modern truck loads. This highly sustainable solution preserved over 90% of the existing structures and extends their life for decades to come. Two items critical to the success of the project and minimized disruption to the community were utility coordination and public outreach. Coordination with nine utilities was conducted prior to construction. The critical utility relocation was a PGE gas line on both bridges that could not remain during construction but was the only service to communities north of the project. Through extensive coordination efforts a solution was devised where the County required construction work be timed around periods of low gas demands and PGE provided temporary gas accommodation to the community. This coordination was successful and gas service to the community was uninterrupted. Community outreach was key as rehabilitation of the bridges required a 9-month road closure. Easy detours existed for vehicles, but special considerations were required for pedestrians and cyclists and to minimize disruption to Bowman Road businesses. For pedestrians/cyclists the County partnered with the transit agency to provide on-demand shuttles around the closure. Minimizing business and school disruption involved a multi-pronged approach of meetings, flyers, websites, videos, and wayfinding during construction. Pre-construction coordination with the community was undertaken to understand and mitigate their concerns. For instance, the County met with the school and its families to assess their needs, including a survey which captured the transportation uses of its 400 families. This guided the temporary traffic control measures that were highly successful, in part due to a video prepared showing the families the new drop off and pick up arrangements (see link). The ribbon-cutting for this $3.5M project was in March 2020 and its successful delivery is best demonstrated by the little-to-no impact it had on the Placer County community. Outreach site: