Woodside is home to three two-lane, single-span, century-old bridges -- on Kings Mountain Road, Portola Road and Mountain Home Road -- and all are weakened and in need of significant repair, maybe even replacement.
The choices before the Town Council when it meets at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, could involve millions of dollars and have the potential to affect Woodside's rural character.
The California Department of Transportation considers all three bridges to be "structurally deficient" and "functionally obsolete," a consulting engineer told the council in November 2012.
Today's vehicles are heavier, larger and more powerful than they were 100 years ago, and traffic volume is heavier. As its first item of business on Tuesday, the council will consider two paths forward:
■ At a cost of about $159,000, the town could complete a forensic analysis of the bridges to determine whether repair and maintenance can extend their useful lives. The companion equestrian bridges on Kings Mountain and Mountain Home would be included in this analysis.
■ The town could accept federal funds, which would pay up to 90 percent of the cost of the work. But because federal funds bring with them federal safety standards, town staff would try to avoid new 40-foot-wide bridges that also accommodate equestrian and pedestrians and present a more modern appearance than is typical in Woodside. This scenario would likely include separate pedestrian and equestrian bridges.
Since all three bridges are on roads designated as scenic, any significant changes require consideration of aesthetic and cultural factors. The bridges on Kings Mountain and Mountain Home roads are also eligible for designation as having historic significance, according to Caltrans.
The Town Council meets at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.