[Note: You can find post-earthquake video of Fernbridge here. Feel free to use this footage and its stills while noting "courtesy of Caltrans"]
FERNBRIDGE — State Route 211 at Fernbridge in Humboldt County is expected to reopen as early as 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. Crews will be on-site to control the flow of traffic on both ends of the bridge.
“Thanks very much to the residents that use Fernbridge for their patience,” said Caltrans Resident Engineer Tai Morgan-Marbet. “Please plan extra time into your route in anticipation of delays in the area. For the first couple of days, we’ll have flaggers conducting one-way traffic control, and eventually, we’re looking at using a temporary signal. Please be alert and follow prompts patiently and safely.” Morgan-Marbet added the bridge will still accommodate its typical sizes of trucks.
The bridge was closed following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake centered near Ferndale in the early morning of Dec. 20. District 1 engineers conducted an initial inspection and observed damage to the bridge’s underlying structure and the bridge deck. The bridge was closed until additional inspections could be conducted in daylight. All other nearby bridges, overcrossings, and roadways in the district remained open following inspections.
A team from the Structure Maintenance and Investigations unit at Caltrans Headquarters was dispatched to conduct a complete inspection of the bridge. That team determined repairs could be made with one-way control traffic in place.
Emergency funding in the amount of $6 million was allocated for initial repairs, which have already begun. Crews worked throughout the day to repave damaged parts of the roadway and add additional support to the bridge’s approaches to allow for reopening.
Caltrans District 1 will continue to update the community on any changes in traffic control or road closures through social media, quickmap.dot.ca.gov, and the QuickMap app. Follow Caltrans District 1 on Facebook and Twitter.
Fernbridge on State Route 211 is a concrete arch bridge crossing the Eel River that first opened in 1911. At 1,320 feet long, it is the longest poured concrete bridge still operating in the world and serves as the main connector between the town of Ferndale and U.S. 101. The bridge has withstood numerous natural disasters, including earthquakes, and floods.
Contact: Myles Cochrane