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Bridge party

A plaque for the decade-old bridge is unveiled by, from center left, county Supervisors Don Nottoli and Sue Frost, Randy Jenco, a Murietan whose company built the bridge, and Bob Lucas, RMA president. (Click photo for larger image.)

→ Photo gallery from the party (27 photos)

The community took a few minutes Saturday morning to mark the 10th anniversary of the bridge that almost wasn’t, the wooden pedestrian bridge that crosses the Cosumnes River to link Rancho Murieta North and South.

Dozens of people and golf carts made a traffic jam of the north end of the bridge, where there were a few speeches (mercifully brief, given the hot sun), the dedication of a plaque and about 400 hotdogs served, compliments of the Rancho Murieta Association. It was the same spot where ground was broken for the bridge in May 2006. It opened for use 13 months later.

The speakers gave special thanks to neighbor Randy Jenco, whose company, Viking Construction, built the bridge. He also served as an RMA director.

“The community is indebted to Randy ... and the boards of directors of RMA, past and present, (Rancho Murieta Community Services District) and the Country Club, who served 10 years ago and who did their parts to make our bridge a reality,” Bob Lucas, RMA board president, said in his remarks.

Lucas offered special thanks to Danise Hetland, the RMA’s assistant general manager, and Ed Crouse, serving now as the CSD’s interim general manager, who played large roles in the project a decade ago.

Video from 2007: How the bridge was built, told by the man who built it, Murietan Randy Jenco.

Jenco said he was “truly humbled” by the attention, and he thanked his wife, Patty, and three sons, who were on hand for the occasion, as well as staffers who played a role.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a kid was build things,” Jenco said, “and that’s what I get to do for a living. How great is that, that you get to do something that you want to do all the time? And to be part of this bridge, to do what I do, and to be able to do it down the street from where I live, and have it benefit the community is something that I’ll never forget.”

County Supervisor Sue Frost, who represents Rancho Murieta, opened her comments with a rhetorical joke, “How many Murietans does it take to build a bridge?” and then walked through some of the challenges that were overcome and the people who helped make the bridge happen. In the end, she said, “The right question is: Can Murietans build bridges? And the answer to that question is yes, they can. And they are. And they will continue to do so.”

Supervisor Don Nottoli, who represented the community a decade ago, called the bridge “a credit to the will ... of this community to really knuckle down and say, ‘No, this is part of how we build our community, how we link the people of both Murieta South and Murieta North, but also how we connect our daily activities and so forth.” He added, “Talk about miracles. I remember several people saying, ‘No, it can’t be done.’ Because of the environmental hurdles, or because of the financing, or ... the easements, all of the various layers that had to be put in place in order to actually build it.”

Lucas unveiled a plaque that will be installed at the north end of the bridge. It cites the bridge as the longest wood truss span in North America, a bridge that has been honored for its engineering and beauty.

Plaque

The plaque that will be attached at the north end of the bridge says it has the longest center span of any wood truss bridge in North America. (Click photo for larger image.)

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