Crash destroys Auburn airport’s new $10,000 sign

City will hold ‘perpetrator’ accountable
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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A two-car collision early Tuesday morning left the Auburn Airport and Business Park without a sign and someone with a hefty repair bill.

No one was injured in the crash, the California Highway Patrol said, but it took a heavy toll on the $10,000 red monument sign installed in July 2012 that directed traffic on the corner of Bell Road and New Airport Road to the municipal airport and its businesses.

Parts of airplane stabilizer fin that stood upright bordering one side of the sign may be salvageable, but recreating the sign will likely cost about as much as it did to initially build and install it, said Bernie Schroeder, Auburn’s public works director.

“It is our intent to go after the perpetrator for reimbursement,” Schroeder said.

The city approved $10,935 for the project in March 2012, when it contracted the now-defunct Vivid Signs, formerly based in the airport business park, to make the sign for the lowest bid.

With that company out of business, Schroeder said the city is looking elsewhere, and it has requested an estimate from the second-lowest March bidder, Hutchinson Signs of Foresthill.

“We’re aggressively pursuing getting a rebuild of the sign in the next few weeks,” she said.

The old wooden sign has been posted on that corner in the interim, next to the decapitated stone base of the new monument – its metal mounting platform bent upwards on the corner nearest the road.

About a three-foot section of the curb leading to the sign was broken off and out of place, with small shards of glass and what appeared to be a broken turn-signal casing strewn about on Wednesday afternoon.

 According to the CHP’s preliminary report, the crash at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday appears to have been an accident with no indication alcohol played a factor. The police investigation is ongoing.

“We removed the debris and are salvaging most of the sign as best we can,” Schroeder said. “The tail section, there were some parts of that were salvaged, as well as the base and some of the lettering.

“But I think, for the most part, the lettering and the backing of the sign is going to need to be replaced, and the lighting was destroyed.”

Once the rebuilt sign is in place, there are no plans to install a protective barrier, she said. It would obstruct the monument, defeating the purpose of the sign, and it was an isolated incident, she added.

“There have not been a great deal of reported accidents I’ve been aware of in the intersection that would involve our sign,” Schroeder said.

Richard Anderson, president of the TGH Aviation business that donated the stabilizer to the sign, said if that piece is not salvageable, the company has access to other parts it can donate for the reconstruction effort.

Councilwoman Bridget Powers said she was disappointed when she learned what happened.

“We just put it up. It was a great sign, what a bummer,” Powers said. “But those things happen. That’s life, and so we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”

She said once a bid for the repair work is accepted, it will go before the city’s planning commission for approval.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews