Berry Street Bridge

The Berry Street Bridge was demolished Wednesday, Sept. 6. A temporary pedestrian bridge allows for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the Napa River during the replacement of the century-old bridge.

Sharpsteen Museum’s next two coffee talks will offer community members the opportunity to hear progress reports on the reconstruction of Calistoga’s two main bridges.

The first coffee talk on Wednesday, Sept. 20, Derek Rayner, deputy public works director, will give a short introduction on the replacement of the Berry Street Bridge, then turn it over to the audience for questions and answers, said Sue Morton, Sharpsteen’s coordinator of the coffee talks.

Rayner will have a couple people with him who are working on the project, she said.

The second talk will be on Wednesday, Oct. 25, and will focus on the Lincoln Avenue Bridge replacement. Presenting and answering questions will be Kelly Hirschberg, project director for Caltrans, who will also bring with her others who are working on the project.

The simultaneous reconstruction of both bridges is causing traffic snarls and delays in town, but Mike Kirn, public works director, did everything in his power to get one done – it was planned to have the Berry Street Bridge complete before the Lincoln Avenue Bridge work began – but unforeseen delays such as additional studies and an eminent domain conflict obstructed the start of the Berry Street Bridge.

The Berry Street Bridge will cost about $2.5 million paid for largely by Highway Bridge Replacement, which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration, and the Highway Bridge Program and State Bridge Toll Credits, and is projected to be completed early 2018.

The Lincoln Avenue Bridge, a $22 million project fully funded by state and federal monies, will take at least two years to complete.

Both projects are subject to environmental protections in the Napa River, which limits the type of work that can be done in and around the river during specific times of the year. Water and fish flows will be improved with the new bridges, officials said.

The old Berry Street Bridge was removed last week and a temporary pedestrian bridge is now the only way to cross the Napa River at the intersection of Washington, Berry and Third streets.

Dan Sund, a crossing guard who works at that intersection helping students cross the street to get to and from Calistoga Elementary School said that the bridge was there for his morning shift, and gone by the time he got back for the after school shift.

Lincoln Avenue caused a little blip in the annual Harvest Table on Sunday with the shift in the road blocking the view of some harvest celebrators. A new stop sign installed at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Cedar Street was installed for safety precautions, but some locals, who are unaccustomed to it being there run through it. Mayor Chris Canning has, at a couple city council meetings, reminded motorists to watch for the stop sign, and pedestrians crossing at a temporary crosswalk over the road near the bridge.

The coffee talks each will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on their respective dates at the Sharpsteen Museum, 1311 Washington St.