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Bridger-Teton National Forest begins bridge replacement project

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Hawks Rest Pack Bridge replacement project will begin this week in the Blackrock Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The project is expected to conclude by mid-October, 2020.

Hawks Rest bridge provides critical equestrian/pedestrian access for Teton Wilderness visitors and access to Yellowstone National Park and the Washakie Wilderness. The existing 155’ bridge constructed in 1959 spans the Yellowstone River and is in critical need of replacement after being evaluated by Forest Service Engineers in 2016.

Further evaluation in 2019 showed additional cracking and deterioration of support piers and abutments. Blackrock Ranger District completed an environmental analysis in 2017, and the Regional Forester has approved a motorized/mechanized Wilderness Exception for portions of the project, including the use of Type 1 (heavy helicopter) and other motorized/mechanized tools.

These are necessary for installing the large bridge components, and for removing large existing components such as steel girders.  All elements of the project that can be done by traditional tools and pack stock will be conducted in that manner. Helicopter flights are limited to several days where large components such as steel bridge sections and concrete abutments are being flown into the site.

Due to seasonal weather factors, work must be done within this 8-week time-frame. There will be a temporary closure area at the project site during that time, though a temporary bypass trail will allow access through the site except temporarily during actual helicopter operations.

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