The Wyoming Department of Transportation reported that the temporary bypass at Cattleman’s Bridge on Spring Gulch Road opened Thursday night just after 7 p.m.
Eager drivers flocked to Spring Gulch Road throughout the day Thursday hoping to use the bridge over the Gros Ventre River, which was scheduled to open earlier that day.
But additional last-minute work, including installation of signals and guardrails, forced them to turn around until the bypass opened to traffic later in the evening. Teton County officials sent out an advisory Nixle alert in the afternoon asking drivers to avoid the area until 6 p.m. It said traffic coming into the area was adding to delays as construction crews worked to open the bridge.
Cattleman’s Bridge has been closed since June, when spring flooding caused it to buckle. WYDOT officials had already planned to replace the bridge in 2018.
The temporary bypass bridge is a single-lane, signal-controlled structure with alternating traffic. It is similar to the bypass that was on Gros Ventre Road this summer after floodwaters eroded the riverbank near the road to Kelly.
The Cheyenne firm Reiman Corp. won the job to replace Cattleman’s Bridge in October with a low bid of $3.8 million. Including engineering and other expenses, WYDOT estimates the total cost will be $5.65 million. Teton County is on the hook for $537,350, a bit less than 10 percent of the total cost.
Joan Anzelmo lives in the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis area and utilizes Spring Gulch Road frequently. She said she values the road not only as a route to town but also as a scenic corridor.
“Everyone will welcome the change to be able to use it again,” Anzelmo said.
She said she’s excited to have access to Spring Gulch again, but she is concerned about increasing traffic volumes and tractor-trailer traffic using it.
The temporary bridge will accommodate most standard truck-and-trailer combinations, but it does have a width restriction of 10 feet, county engineer Sean O’Malley said.