For immediate release
June 7, 2007

(Sacramento CA) The Maxwell Bridge Replacement Project received the “Project of the Year” award from the California Transportation Foundation in a ceremony held at the Sacramento Convention Center June 6, 2007. The Maxwell Bridge Replacement, a vital crossing over the Napa River on Imola Avenue/SR 121, was chosen as Project of the Year from hundreds of endeavors across the state, and was noted by the Foundation for being a “case study in state/local collaboration.” 

Mayor Jill Techel and Public Works Director Mike O’Bryon accepted the award on behalf of the City of Napa, and expressed their gratitude for the partnership with Caltrans District 4, the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, design firm URS, and contractor C.C. Myers. 

“What distinguished this project from all of the other transportation projects in the state was the extraordinary partnership and cooperation that was required to adequately fund this project and maintain the multiple funding sources that resulted in project success,” said O’Bryon. 

Mayor Techel said “The CTF wanted to showcase the Maxwell Bridge Project because of the unique level of collaboration between agencies. Instead of building a four-lane causeway leading to a two-lane bridge, we worked together to do it right - replace the bridge - and we worked together to provide the funding.”

Shane Dees, the Project Manager for C. C. Myers on the Maxwell Bridge, dedicated the award to the memory of Chris Stevens, a Myers worker who lost his life during construction. 

C.C. Myers himself was also on hand to receive a Special Award from the foundation for the rapid reconstruction of the damaged MacArthur Maze.

Among the challenges that were met in the course of the Maxwell Bridge Replacement Project:


  • The project required funding from multiple sources. SHOPP funds from Caltrans provided $21 million; $9 million in federal funds were secured; $7 million came from the Flood District; and the City of Napa invested $2.5 million.

  • Despite the collaborative efforts, the project was nearly suspended at the last minute as the State grappled with funding shortfalls. The Maxwell Bridge project was the last contract to be awarded in January 2003 before Caltrans embargoed new project funding for a 2 year period. In the end, C.C. Myers bid came in more than 21% under the engineer’s estimate. 


  • The new Bridge has to be designed to allow for the same clearance for boats on the Napa River as the old lift span (60 feet). It also was required to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic in addition to motorized vehicles.

  • All Flood Project elements had to be accommodated by the bridge design, in addition to the desire to eliminate a railroad grade crossing of Imola Avenue/SR 121.


  • Completing the job as fast as possible while coping with the restrictive in-water work window.  The first span was opened to traffic before the Napa River flood of 12/31/05. 

  • Keeping traffic moving on the heavily-used Imola Avenue/SR 121 route while the new bridge was being built

  • Keeping railroad tracks open for use throughout construction

Advantages of the replacement

  • Replacement of the Bridge and elimination of the proposed causeway provides environmental benefits - a more continuous floodway, tidal terrace, and shoreline which is better for fish and wildlife migration.

  • The Bridge was widened to four lanes improving traffic safety and circulation.

  • A major obstruction to the flow of floodwaters was eliminated.

  • Response time from the new Fire Station 4 was improved with the widening to four lanes and removal of the lift bridge.

  • Boats no longer need to request raising of the bridge to travel upstream on the Napa River.