TERREBONNE, OR -- The footbridge at Smith Rock State Park will be torn out and replaced. "It was constructed 50 years ago," says Park Manager Matt Davey, "It was reconstructed after a flooding event 30 years ago. And in the last 10, our inspectors have actually seen it warping and overturning, which is a sign that it needs to be replaced now." He says there is a small window of time the work can be done, due to limitations on when equipment is allowed in the Crooked River, "Bracing will have to be placed in the river while they demolish the old bridge and set the new one in place, too. So, we have to be within this in-water work period, per our permit. And then, there’s also raptor nesting season at the park." That season runs from winter through July.
Prep work is underway now, and the bridge will fully close next Monday, August 14, for six weeks. "We’re discouraging park visitors from wading across the river or hopping on boulders to get across to the other side, because first responders can’t get over to the other side easily, either. So, they won’t have access to the bridge, including our own park staff that will not be able to service trails or maintain the restroom on the other side of the river." He says water levels also change throughout the day, and a person could get trapped on the other side. Davey encourages visitors to enjoy hiking and climbing trails accessible without crossing the river, "We have park staff that will be out and about and educating a lot of visitors that didn’t know about this, about other options for a hike at the park, during this closure period." Flyers are also going up around the park and inside Terrebonne businesses, to alert visitors of the temporary change.
The new span will be eight feet wide to better accommodate visitors and first responders during rescue operations at the popular park. It’s scheduled to reopen September 22. Updates to the project will be posted HERE.