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May 31

Building Niblick Bridge in Paso Robles

Municipal Services Director Jay Lyon checks progress on the Niblick bridge. His tenure began with the 13th Street Bridge.

Municipal Services Director Jay Lyon checks progress on the Niblick bridge. His tenure began with the 13th Street Bridge.©The Tribune/David Middlecamp

When Jay Lyon retired as Paso Robles municipal services director it was a chance to review accomplishments and predict the future. Phil Dirkx wrote a story and sidebar that ran February 26, 1987 and here are a few of the highlights.

Jay Lyon, Paso Robles municipal services director will finish his city career the same time the new Niblick Road bridge will be finished.
“The first project I worked on was the construction of the 13th Street bridge,” he said. “One of the last things I’ll do will be to see the completion of the First Street (Niblick Road) Bridge.”
He plans to retire June 30, ending a career with the city that began July 11, 1966.

Lyon recalled his first big project the replacement of the 13th street bridge. They didn’t use enough explosives on the first attempt.

“I watched them scare the pigeons off the 13th Street bridge. They finally had to use more charges.”

In a method that likely run afoul with today’s environmental regulations, traffic was diverted over a temporary set of culverts borrowed from Texaco in San Ardo.

“Fortunately, the river never flowed much that year.”

The rapid growth of the city in that era kept the city busy building roads, sewer and water delivery services.

“We went from a few wells in the river,” he said, “to pumping over 7 million gallons per day.”

That growth led to a question about the water supply in the sidebar story and the answer shows how much things have changed in the over two decades since.

Lyon, however, has no worries about the city’s water supply.
“Our water is in good shape. We are on the western boundary of the biggest underground water basin around.”

Lyon correctly anticipated the need for more bridge and road work but the water prediction looks optimistic in retrospect.

Related posts:

  1. 1965 Paso Robles 13th St. Bridge
  2. Finding the lost bridge: Building the Stenner Creek Bridge part 1
  3. Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel Burns Down
  4. 1964 Paso Robles Christmas Parade
  5. Why Ray Bradbury loved libraries, dedication in Paso Robles