Local News

Reopening Of Smith Rock Footbridge Delayed

TERREBONNE, OR -- Replacing the footbridge in Smith Rock State Park is not going quite as planned. Park Manager Matt Davey says construction crews ran into a problem during the delivery of the first of three massive support beams, "There was a bit of a learning process, where that beam was slightly damaged during that delivery into the canyon. The beam is currently shipped back to the mill and the mill is doing a repair."

He says there were six deliveries, "The beams are going to be a total of over 100’ in length. However, they were cut in half for the delivery, and then the contractor splices them back together at the bridge site, after the delivery." Davey tells KBND News, "These are big glue-lam beams, over 50’ long and each weighing about 6,000 pounds, roughly, when they get spliced back together."

He says, overall, work to replace the 50-year-old span over the Crooked River has gone well. But there have certainly been challenges, "Due to creating a new bridge in place, where there is a current one, as well as just the access to that location. The access is probably one of the most challenging parts of this job." And that access appears to be where the problems started on the steep path to the canyon, "That combination of steep and tight corners is really what was the tricky navigating part for that beam." 

The footbridge closed August 14th and was supposed to reopen this Friday. Davey says it’s now unclear when visitors will be allowed to access the other side of the Crooked River. "We have seen a few people wading across to access on the other side and we are discouraging that." He says water levels are rising, which makes the river very unpredictable.

  • Trails that will stay open include: Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Rope-de-Dope Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop
  • Climbing areas accessible during construction include: North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails), Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail) and The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will update the footbridge closure dates on the Smith Rock webpage and through smithrock.com as information becomes available.

 

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