Healdsburg will take a new tack in finding an alternative route over the Russian River for bicyclists and walkers during construction next year on the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge.
City Council agreed Monday night to send a letter to the North Coast Rail Authority asking to use the SMART railroad bridge as a "temporary pedestrian detour."
Efforts have been stymied on the issue of using the SMART railroad bridge as a temporary pedestrian and cyclists' detour because the freight operator plans to use the bridge to haul freight.
. Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co, the freight operator, has told the city that it plans to extend the freight rail service to Healdsburg next year.
Healdsburg Public Works Director Mike Kirn said Monday the detour plans hinge on the wishes and flexibility of the freight operator as to whether they would postpone or alter their plans.
Healdsburg City Councilman Shaun McCaffery said the city should prepare an alternative plan in the event the freight operator does not agree to the detour.
"I think we're going to have a tough time getting the railroad to agree," McCaffery said Monday. "I think we should come up with our own solution, using the existing bridge.
"We need to move forward on this," McCaffery said.
said Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire, who organized the meeting. McGuire, who was not present at the City Council meeting Monday, said last week that the meeting he convened did not result in an immediate solution.
McGuire had invited to attend the "collaborative" meeting in hopes that the NCRA would be able to mediate an agreement with the city, county and freight operator on a detour plan.
But according to the Press Democrat, Stogner said the NCRA would not overrule the freight operator on the issue. Stogner was not present for Monday night's City Council meeting, but the newspaper interviewed him by phone earlier.
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