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Bridge Repair & Replacement Permitting Process


Below is the permitting process for owners of private bridges that were damaged in the major wildfires. The Bridge Repair Flowchart (PDF) provides a 1-page overview of this process, along with staff contact information.

Evaluate Existing Bridge

A licensed civil or structural engineer needs to evaluate the bridge and prepare a Bridge Foundation Report.  For more information on preparing a Bridge Foundation Report, please see Technical Bulletin B-43. Learn more about commonly used concrete forensic testing methods for damaged concrete.

Design Bridge Repair or Replacement

You will need a licensed engineer to prepare the design plans for your bridge repair or bridge replacement. For more information on this, please see Design Criteria for Bridges Technical Bulletin, B-42.

Determine Permitting Requirements & Submit Permit Applications

  • Federal and State Regulatory Permits:
    • If the bridge repair or replacement project will cause any disturbances within the channel or along the channel banks, then you’ll need permits from Permit Sonoma and Federal and State Regulatory Agency permits. Permit Sonoma Senior Environmental Specialist, Rich Stabler, is available to assist you in navigating the Federal and State Regulatory permitting process, as outlined in the Regulatory Agency Flow Chart (PDF).
    • If the bridge repair or replacement project is above the top of the channel bank and will cause no disturbance within the channel or along the channel banks, then you will not need Federal and State Regulatory permits.
  • Permit Sonoma Zoning/Riparian Permit: If the bridge repair work will take place in areas zoned Riparian Corridor, please contact a Permit Sonoma Planner to assist you in the zoning/riparian permit application process.
  • Permit Sonoma Building Permit: All bridge repair and replacement projects will need a building permit from Permit Sonoma. Our staff are ready to assist you and help determine which documents are required for submission. Please refer to Design Criteria for Bridges Technical Bulletin, B-42.

Permit Sonoma Plan Review

Permit Sonoma staff will review building (and zoning/riparian permit, if applicable) applications. You will then be asked to address any review comments and provide any additional information required by Permit Sonoma to complete the application.

Begin Work on Bridge Repair or Replacement

Once your Permit Sonoma permits (and Federal/State Regulatory Agency permits, if applicable) are issued, you are ready to begin construction. During construction, you will  need to post the Building Permit onsite and have any Federal/State Regulatory Agency approvals (if applicable) available onsite.

Schedule Inspection

When construction is completed, you’ll need an inspection. Schedule your inspection with Permit Sonoma.


Please view our list of Frequently Asked Questions for more information.