Work continues on the rebuilding of the Stoddard Pack Bridge, which is an important access point into the Frank Church — River of No Return Wilderness Area.
The popular pedestrian and pack animal crossing provided the only access from the Salmon River canyon to the Stoddard and Papoose Creek section of the wilderness area.
On Thursday, the Federal Highway Administration announced that crews with Boise-based contractor Inland Crane Inc. had completed a rock bolt performance test on bolt No. 9 on abutment No. 2 and that they are continuing to drill for rock bolts Nos. 1 through 8 on the rock face of the north abutment to stabilize the rock face and tower foundation along the Salmon River.
The bid for the work was awarded June 2.
The historic suspension bridge, which was was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is located about approximately half a mile downstream of the confluence with the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It received catastrophic damage in mid-March 2017 when a boulder broke loose from the south rock face and destroyed the south tower and deck. The original 348-foot wooden suspension bridge had been replaced in 2014 utilizing the original suspension cables.
A new, asymmetric suspension bridge is being constructed near the site of the previous bridge, but the south tower will move west to avoid higher-risk rockfall potential, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s project description webpage. The existing north tower will be reconstructed at the same location. The new bridge will have the same deck widths of the previous bridge, the project description said.
The Federal Highway Administration’s update said that with a personnel shuttle design approved, work crews have started setup for the installation of abutment No. 1 on the south side of the river. The road at the project site has traffic control set for the duration of the project, the update said.
The project’s fixed completion date is July 26, 2024.
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