Kings River opening delayed by bridge problems

FRESNO, Calif.

This video from a Fresno County website, shot by a diver shows cut off metal pilings, sticking up above the river bottom. The county says there are about 30 of these. While they are at most only one foot high, the county says they could be a danger and is keeping this six mile stretch of river, between Highway 180 and Goodfellow closed until they can be removed. That's frustrating to Jim Van Haun, of the Kings River Conservancy.

"If there is a safety issue, safety is paramount," Jim Van Haun said. "But, at the same time we're going to have thousands of people here during the summer months that want to use this river."

The Fresno County board of Supervisors has declared the company that built the bridge, Rising Sun Construction of Exeter to be in breach of their contract. A spokesperson for Rising Sun told Action News over the phone the county's claims are absurd, and said the river is safe for boating. Nobody from the County was available to comment on camera.

Fresno County is now planning to hire another contractor to get the pilings removed. The county expects the half a million dollar cost to be covered by the original contractors insurance company. The goal is to have the pilings removed by the end of June.

Jim Haun says it's better late than never: "Well, it won't help Memorial day, July 4th is the biggest weekend so if they could get it opened before July 4th that would be good, but we've got people coming from the Bay Area and Los Angeles and all over the place mid-week in June and they May not have heard about this story and they will be disappointed."

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