SMART to Buy Used Drawbridge from Texas to Replace 109-Year-Old Span

The historic Petaluma River swing bridge. SMART intends to replace it with a newer drawbridge from Galveston, Tex. Photo by The Press Democrat.

The North Bay’s budding commuter railroad intends to buy a used draw bridge from Galveston, Tex., to replace an aging swing span over the Petaluma River. The current swing bridge is 109-years-old and repairable, according to Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, but the agency thinks it would need to be replaced anyway within 20 years – instead, they expect to buy and install the bridge from Texas at a cost of about $20 million and have it last 75 to 80 years. The bridge is currently used by BNSF to cross from mainland Texas to Galveston – it is being disassembled this week and being replaced (apparently at the request of the Coast Guard). If the deal goes through, SMART would take bids from BNSF and Union Pacific to ship the bridge to Petaluma by rail. SMART expects to run diesel multiple unit commuter trains down the corridor within four years. []

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