July 14, 2017 10:50 a.m.
Through traffic on the South Umpqua Road, also known as Forest Road 28, in the Tiller Ranger District, will resume at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday with the opening of the new Emerson Bridge on Forest Road 2823.
Julie Merritt of the Umpqua National Forest says the new bridge is near milepost 26 on Forest Road 28.
Merritt says drivers crossing the new bridge should be aware that Forest Road 2823 will become a dead end that afternoon when work begins to remove the old Emerson Bridge. That bridge is about a mile away from the new structure. Large RV type vehicles may have some difficulty turning around on Road 2823.
The new 130 foot-long bridge spans the South Umpqua River without any mid-stream piers. The bridge is high enough to allow high water flow and to let large logs pass.
Steve Marchi, the Forest’s lead professional engineer, says the bridge will eliminate the damage taking place in the past by spanning the entire river well above the anticipated flood stage of the river. He says the concrete piers on the existing bridge were constructed in 1948 on bedrock outcropping to allow for multiple short spans and low construction costs. He says large woody debris gets caught up on those piers and rocks, causing damage to the existing bridge.
The new bridge was funded from more than five sources, including Title 2 funds from the Secure Rural Schools Act, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Drinking Water Providers Partnership.