Nacimiento’ s Unknown & Uncared for little Bridge, 5/26/17

All these photos were taken by Rock Knocker on May 25, 2017 and show the deteriorating condition of this bridge being subjected to massive stressors due to Convoys with 10 plus trucks at a time carrying loads which exceed this bridge’s capacity. This little bridge is at the very bottom of the grade on Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd., going eastbound, before one starts on the flats next to the river about 1/2 a mile from the first USFS campground – Nacimiento. This bridge is estimated to be between 50 and 75 years old, and hasn’t had ANY maintenance in a very long time. It is full of rust, deteriorating concrete and exposed rebar.



40 thoughts on “Nacimiento’ s Unknown & Uncared for little Bridge, 5/26/17

  1. I hope you can get HIGH UP attention for this, Kate. If it goes, everyone down there is screwed. If ‘they’ push back, go higher. This is bad.

  2. Excellent! Now that it is known, they will monitor/lighten the loads and fix/strengthen the bridge… after all – it is the ONLY access point.
    TPTB ? Who can we join you in making some noise to? You know – the squeaky wheel…
    (I’m sure it somewhere in your blog but this post is currently front and center)

  3. Holy, Moly! Lot’s of rust, single bolt on base plate, minimal bracing, cracks. Yikes! I doubt that the bridge could meet the 15 ton limit in its current condition. I read somewhere that CalTrans stated that each convoy truck is under 15 tons, but….

  4. That’s not cool – why did you have to show us that?! I totally get your concern but what alternative does Caltrans have? It’s my understanding there isn’t another road to use except Nacimiento-Fergusson Road! Good vibes to this little bridge!!

  5. I have it from someone who knows that each truck is OVER 15 tons. Don’t believe everything Cal Trans tells you. I have no faith that anyone was paying attention until I started raising a ruckus, and as someone else said on FB, “She was warned. She was given information. Nevertheless, she persisted.” I will not be silent.


  6. Here’s a copy of the e-mail I just sent to , Mary Adams, Monterey County Supervisor, District 5:
    Please send inspectors to the bridge at the bottom of the Nacimiento grade ASAP. The photos taken on 5/4 of the underside of that bridge and posted at do not instill confidence in those of us who live and work in Big Sur and must depend on it for our survival. Thanks for your attention to this matter….

  7. Donna, I have no choice but to show you this. You would rather the bridge just “unexpectedly collapse?” What choice does Cal Trans have?? Come over with smaller loads! That’s the choice. Otherwise, Mother Nature, and old engineering will take away ALL choice … for everyone. Just like she did with the Pfeiffer Canyon (Gulch) Bridge…and Mud Creek…and now Paul’s Slide, which is now closed until Tuesday.


  8. Caltrans and the rest are doing the best they can….whenever i see them i tell them how we appreciate their efforts….how else but via nacimiento rd can they gain access? I know the authorities are trying,and my family appreciates it…look at the bright side,we won’t have hordes of them awful ‘invaders’ overrunning ‘our’ Big Sur!

  9. Herb, yes, they are doing a phenomenal job under horrific circumstances, BUT, the contractors need to bring in smaller loads and fewer trucks per convoy to assure this bridge’s survival. Yes, it will take longer and cost more, but if this little insignificant bridge gives out, then the bigger bridge cannot be repaired until this one is. Which would you prefer?


  10. Kate, you are doing a phenomenal job of conveying necessary information to those who need to hear it and have the power to address the problems….before the problems (in this case the bridge) escalate into major problems! Thank you. Carry on…and let us help where and how we can!

  11. Thanks for TPTB contact info. Copied for my personal reference so it doesn’t get “lost”. As for the “little bridge”, nothing personal against the inspectors or Caltrans or anybody else. HOWEVER this bridge is too vital to the whole process not to be given due attention.

  12. Kate you mentioned Paul’s slide is closed until Tuesday, is it expected to be reopened for deliveries and local access on Tuesday, or are they looking at later in the week for that? Thank you for any updates!

  13. That’s the idea. So if something happens, I have documentation that I contacted everyone and showed them evidence of the problem. I am used to this stuff.

  14. This is not ongoing news in paradise ;( look forward to updates. Are the monks able to get to the Monastary?

  15. the Hermitage moved a vehicle to the north side of the bridge so they have a way out over the trail, which was wise.

  16. Kate,

    No way in Hell would all the narrow one way bridges in Tassajara or Cachagua would be able to survive a convoy like that with that schedule either not to mention the damage it would create.

  17. People, “Good vibes” are not enough to deal with the issues that are happening on the Central Coast right now. And Kate’s concerns and info sharing are the things that will make a difference between the level this disaster is at right now, and a level no one wants to see….or steady improvement, safety, and survival. There is a heat wave coming to the central coast soon…fire will be a real danger. If that little bridge goes, there’s no way out for people. Overuse of the bridge is unconscionable and needs to be addressed, no matter who is doing it, or how good their ‘other’ work is. Kate, you are doing the hard work…the invaluable work. Carry on. I think more of us appreciate you and have your back than not.

  18. Carry on Kate ! your doing a great service keeping us all updated!

  19. Kate, between the slides, downed structure and all the engineers involved, it is very likely caltrans performed review of this structure’s capacity before running convoys over it. It’s what they do. They live for this stuff! It is also likely the 15 ton sign posted way under it’s actual rating.

  20. David, did you look at the photos??? I am not an engineer, neither is Rock Knocker, but I see several things that I don’t like.


  21. Cracks in the underside of the bridge remind me all too well of the Pfeiffer Canyon bridge. I hope this little bridge can be saved, it’s taking some punishing heavy loads now. I’m with you Kate, smaller loads and less trucks per convoy. Big Sur can not afford to lose this bridge!

  22. Didn’t this bridge get abutment and deck work about a decade ago? It used to have wooden railings and all the concrete was rough and worn. Obviously the steelwork is original, but the concrete is way younger than the steelwork.

    And on the other hand, if it did collapse, slapping down a temporary bridge would be mercifully quick, given the span and approaches.

    Hope to hear that Caltrans has already done the right thing and inspected it.

  23. Kate/Lois, Smaller loads would probably equal more trucks. I don’t believe anyone wants to use this road but what choice do they have?

  24. It may have had some work 17 years ago, I haven’t been able to confirm that, but as far as I know, Cal Trans hasn’t inspected it, yet, but hoping it will.


  25. Yes, I realize more trucks mean more time, but wouldn’t you rather that than yet ANOTHER bridge collapsing??? How much longer would it take to finish Pfeiffer Bridge if this bridge collapses and must be rebuilt, first?? At the very least, it should be inspected and certified as capable of carrying the loads it currently carries.


  26. Good info, good photos. What does Caltrans or Monterey Co . Public Works say about bridge condition?

  27. MoCo Public Works said this before I sent the photos:

    “We have looked into this matter and the sign placed is an advisory signs for trucks. Our records indicate that the bridges along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road are capable of carrying loads legally allowed per the California Vehicle Code. However, the road is steep and narrow and thus the placement of the warning sign.”

    Cal Trans said I should check into the accuracy of the weight limit.


  28. Kate,

    Why hasn’t there been a county follow up inspection on your photos yet? Stop the rhetoric folks and get us some facts! Critical details need to be addressed for this operation to work efficiently.

  29. Because the county guy in charge left until 6/5, but I am following up with others and now have our blessed state legislator, Bill Monning, and his staff monitoring the situation. The good thing for this bridge is that Paul’s Slide is closed until Tuesday, so there will be no convoys or delivery trucks until after it has been reassessed.


  30. bsk – you obviously are even more talented and have greater super powers than I could even imagine! But of course YOU should go check the accuracy of the weight limit. You should be able to just place your hand on it and get all the information you need. While you’re at it, pick up each truck and verify that they are within limits. Question – when do you plan on flying over to Mud Creek and telling the mountain to chill? >-<
    Didn't realize that was part of your job description – did you?
    Good thing you do it out of love.


  31. LOL, you made me chuckle, Denise. I am actually beginning to worry I might be burned as a witch if I keep this up!! Kidding, of course.


  32. Glad you got a chuckle out of it. I hear chuckles go great with a Pinot Noir.

  33. What a ludicrous situation. Excellent work by Kate and Rock Knocker to document and publicize the danger. If something does happen all those responsible have no excuse. They have been put on notice. Christian Van Allen’s suggestion of a Bailey Bridge seems to make good sense as obeying the weight limit is prevalently beyond the intelligence level of people in charge of the operation. I wonder if Hunter Liggett has a couple lying around in a shed 🙂 Give Colonel Donna Williams a call. I think she still might be in charge… 831-386-2505

  34. Thank you, Kate and Rock Knocker, for everything you do! I’ve been wanting to do the same with this bridge, but it already takes me so long just to get to FHL from stopping at the many turnouts to pick up touron trash and toilet paper! Since I stop at Naci campground to properly dispose what others mindlessly don’t, I saw that PMC, the despicable company all Big Sureans would love to see ousted completely from the Big Sur region, raised the fee from $8 to $20 and Ponderosa from $10 to $25! Gouging the tourons like gorda- which, btw, doesn’t give locals a discount but gives PMC free coffee and discounts– peas in a pod. PMC sure wants their fees but do little to none for it! The path at sand dollar hasn’t been maintained at all this year yet! I stopped to take a picture of toilet paper on the ground right by the entrance and this is not the first time! I could go on and on about that scum company, but I’m sure you know.
    On my way here to the cape I saw 2 girls starting their grill at gem cove. I stopped to ask them what they intended to do with their hot coals. They…. uuhhhmmm…. oh, we’re just gonna let them burn out…. we’re going to bury them…. Then when I asked if they had a permit, they said: “we need a permit to grill?!” Well, I told them, according to the MANY yellow and red signs you passed getting here, you do. I hope they don’t chuck the coals into the vegetation like some do. While sitting here reading/typing a CHP SUV went to gorda; I hope that female officer stopped if the girls were still there grilling. While typing this, I just saw at 2 different times 15 passenger vans go by! It’s getting out of hand here for the almighty touron dollar!
    Lastly; about supplies for the PCB, they should have a crane at the north end, like the wrecking ball crane or more heavy duty, that can move material to the south side- I’ve seen it done before and with a greater expanse.
    Oh yea, one last last thing lol I don’t recall which post of yours I saw about the meeting and plans/steps but I recall #9 was looking into stopping people from camping on Naci- How about Monterey Co. enforcing the laws already in place!?!? Camping on a national forest road is illegal across the country! Dispersed camping is allowed in national forests and preserves but your site has too be 100′ from the centerline of the road- show me ONE place Naci is even a hundred feet wide! Also, in the state of California it is illegal to disperse camp ANYWHERE west of highway 1. SLO Co. strictly enforces this law. Monterey Co. seems too enamored with the touron dollar to enforce anything that might cause tourons to stay away. And those illegal campers are having illegal fires, too! I see the scorched earth while picking up what they left behind. #€%¥!!!!

  35. Kate, I wasnt serious about not showing us… Good for you advocating for the area and for what’s right relating to the weights. Good deal the convoys are suspended until the little old bridge can be evaluated! Prayers and positive energy to all dealing with these issues!! The trash that another person posted about- big time sucks… I can’t stand people that leave litter, make illegal fires, disrespect the land.

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