My husband is out on the roads at night, which means he occasionally gets to see some pretty cool things. Last night he saw some of the process as CalTrans workers moved a new bridge on Hwy 199 into place. There are two main roads into Del Norte County (California): Hwy 101 (from the north and south) and Hwy 199 (which comes southwest down from Oregon). Hwy 199 gets a lot of traffic. It also runs along the Smith River, which is one of the cleanest rivers in the continental United States. Bit by bit, they have been trying to improve the road — a difficult undertaking, because in some areas it is very narrow, carved out of the rock above the Smith River. Over the past year they have been working on the Vic Meedom Bridge (named after a former police chief and local character), which crosses Hardscrabble Creek. (Yes, they once did gold mining in this area.)
Last night, from 10 pm to 6 am, they closed Hwy 199 so they could move the new bridge into place. Apparently they built the new bridge on a track that jutted over the Smith River. They extended the track to go under where the old bridge was. Last night, they carefully destroyed the old bridge, and then moved the 15-ton concrete bridge along the tracks to fit into the slot where the old bridge was. Voila! Hwy 199 was open again this morning. My husband said it reminded him of the sort of thing they used to do in ancient times, with thousands of slaves. This time they used hydraulic engines and far fewer people.