Preservation advocacy at work
Caltrans has tabled its plans to upgrade and widen two historic Highway 29 bridges after heavy opposition from the St. Helena community.
Caltrans had planned to replace the stone rails of the York Creek Bridge south of Beringer Vineyards and the Sulphur Creek Bridge north of Gott’s because they no longer meet current safety standards.
The proposals met with heavy opposition during public meetings in 2019, with residents criticizing the appearance of the proposed new rails and decrying the loss of the historic stones.
“Based on community feedback, (Caltrans) is no longer advancing those projects,” City Manager Mark Prestwich told the City Council on Tuesday, adding that city officials were recently notified of the decision.
Public Works Director Erica Ahmann Smithies said community opposition led Caltrans to “table (the projects) for now.”
– Courtesy Staff, St. Helena Star
This letter sent to the St. Helena Star (11/16/2020):
Many thanks to all the residents who expressed opposition to Caltrans plans to demolish the Sulphur Creek and York Creek Bridges! Locals wrote emails in Caltrans public comments and participated in meetings where this project was discussed. Caltrans planned to make plastic molds of the stones and remove them replacing them with “form molds”. This is what would be seen on entering downtown St. Helena—north or south. A special thanks to the experts in historic preservation at Napa County Landmarks: Bill Tuikka and Kara Brunzell. Their expertise and advocacy really helped our cause. I never expected Caltrans to listen to us and was happily shocked when they did.
Mariam Hovanesian Hansen
St. Helena Historical Society