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State to decide fate of Horse Creek bridge

From the June 5, 2002 edition of McKenzie River Reflections

Horse Creek BridgeRAINBOW: A multi-agency effort to provide a safe crossing for 45 families is expected to get under way next Spring. The work is focused on the “bridge that nobody wanted,” which spans Horse Creek along Delta Road.

Who actually owned the structure has been debated for decades. The bridge is not currently maintained or owned by Lane County. Requests from residents in the area spurred the Board of Commissioners to pass an order agreeing to take it into the county’s road system once the bridge is brought to current standards. The cost will be nearly a half million dollars.

Under the federal Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program, grant funds will provide 80 percent of the $435,000 estimated project cost. In order to show local commitment, area residents who use the bridge had to agree to come up with ten percent of the costs in cash. The other ten percent is being provided by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation.

Putting together a management plan involving a number of agencies “was a little complicated,” admits Mike Russell, the county’s capital improvement coordinator. “Since federal money is being used for the project, ODOT will be the contracting agency. This means that the bridge will be brought up to standards under a state contract.”

ODOT is using OBEC Consulting Engineers to design and manage the project with Lane County acting as the “lead agency,” with design review and engineering decision authority. The US Forest Service is also involved because the land that surrounds the bridge is National Forest land. The Forest Service is contributing some of the local match, along with environmental consulting services and developing the Environmental Assessment document.

Still to be determined is whether the bridge will be rebuilt or replaced. Supporters of rebuilding the span note the structure’s “bow truss” design is historically significant. “It’s the only one in Lane County and one of only three in the state,” Russell said. “We feel the existing bridge is the best fit for the environment and the setting that it’s in.”

Regardless of the type of construction, a temporary detour bridge will be constructed while work is being done. Located adjacent to the existing bridge on the south side, the 20 foot wide detour will accommodate two way traffic.

A review of the design and impact statement is expected to be completed by July. Russell said construction could begin in March or April, with completion slated for October of 2003.

Image above: Traffic will be re-routed over a temporary span while upgrades to the Horse Creek Bridge are underway next summer.


McKenzie River Reflections


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