Groups Protest Replacement of Aging Placerville Bridge

PLACERVILLE -- A group of Native Americans placed yellow tape around trees bordering the aging Clay Street Bridge in Placerville Tuesday.

Members of the Wopumnes Nisenan-MeWuk tribe say they wanted to take jurisdiction over the trees and environment on traditional lands that are threatened by a replacement of the bridge, which city officials have deemed unsafe.

Although the tribe is still in the process of regaining recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, they say they won’t wait in order to make their views known.

They are just one of the groups fighting to retain the character of the historic downtown area of Placerville that residents say is threatened by a newly designed bridge and a plan to redo an intersection along Main Street to smooth out traffic flow.

Residents on the other side of the bridge fear more traffic and a loss of character of the area.

City officials say the 80-year-old bridge is too narrow for proper sidewalks or safety rails and wasn’t designed to accommodate heavier vehicles like fire engines. They say they will address any comments made in response to the required environmental review and, if it passes that test, will have additional public meetings to try to accommodate any design objections to the bridge before construction begins.