RVers enjoying California’s Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park got a surprise last week when they discovered the bridge they had used to access the park was out of commission thanks to a drunk driver.
The inebriated fellow had struck the bridge support in the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 26, and the state quickly closed the structure. The narrow bridge was built in 1915 and was barely wide or high enough to allow RVs to pass on the way into the park. The DUI accident left the bridge supports damaged and closed to vehicular traffic. That left campers at the Coloma Resort Tent & RV Campground with no other choice but to take narrow – and scary – back roads back to civilization.
RVers Diane and Marty Weston were among about 19 RVers who were told to take a narrow, winding road out of the park, or leave their rigs stranded for what could be months while the bridge was repaired.
The Westons said some RVers chose to abandon their rigs and drive home in their trucks or tow vehicles. Marty decided to give the narrow back road a white-knuckled try.
“We have been RVing for over 24 years and this was a new and terrifying experience,” said Diane. The photo above shows Marty at the wheel, attempting to negotiate a tight turn.
The road was so narrow, oncoming cars were forced to back up long distances, since there was “no way” to get around the RVs, Diane said.
Diane and Marty report that their RV did sustain some surface scratches and gouges to the exterior due to overhanging tree branches, but made it through otherwise unscathed.
The current closure of the bridge also means emergency vehicles can’t easily access the park or the campground. Some RVers were apparently upset to learn that the bridge had received a failing grade from California Department of Transportation inspectors for at least the past decade.
A caravan out of the park for the remaining RVers is currently being coordinated with the El Dorado Sheriff’s Office and the country roads division.