Earlier this summer, American Whitewater sent comments to Caltrans about the Access Feasibility Studies the agency is required to complete when building a new state highway bridge over a river. These requirements have been in place for over 40 years, however only one Feasibility Study has been done in that time (it's still in progress), and it was for the Feather River at SR 99. AW is working with Caltrans to ensure that this particular Access Feasibilty Study is done well, but in the meantime, our meetings have resulted in the agency agreeing to look into clearly marking the public right of way at public access points at certain bridges throughout the state. This will lead to more certainty for you in getting to the river, and hopefully reduce conflicts with neighboring landowners.
If you've had difficult accessing a river at a bridge in California, AW wants to hear from you! The information you provide will help us inform Caltrans of what bridges are the top priority. Send an e-mail to megan [at] americanwhitewater.org by October 5th with the following info.
AW values your input! Overall, the under-utilitzed sections of the California Streets and Highway Code provide a great opportunity for paddlers to get involved in the public process and open up more public access points throughout the state. (See California Streets and Highways Code section 84.5; similar provisions apply to bridges connected to county highways (§991) and city streets (§ 1809).) In addition to providing us with this information, please keep your eyes and ears open for future bridge projects, and get involved.
We look forward to hearing from you!