Cattleman's Bridge

Crews from Teton County Road and Levee clear debris from support pillars on Cattleman’s Bridge on Friday afternoon. High spring runoff damaged one of the pillars, dropping the deck between 2 and 3 feet, which closed the bridge indefinitely.

Mother Nature has expedited the decommissioning of Cattleman’s Bridge, which was scheduled to be replaced in 2018.

High water on the Gros Ventre River has caused a supporting pier to slump 2 to 3 feet, closing the narrow bridge and threatening to turn Spring Gulch Road into a dead-end route for potentially months to come.

“The question for all of us is, can we do some short-term repair to open it back up, ” Teton County Engineer Sean O’Malley said, “or does it make more sense just to leave it closed until it’s replaced next year?”

The force of the Gros Ventre River appears to be washing away gravel and earth beneath the second support structure on the south end of the bridge, O’Malley said. The structure’s droop has caused a noticeable buckling of the road surface, and its progression downward has potential to continue and cause further damage.

“It’s possible it will redirect, and undercut other piers,” O’Malley said. “We could lose a span or two.”

“There are also utilities on the bridge,” he said. “I’m not certain what those utilities are, but they’re certainly at risk.”

For the time being, Spring Gulch Road is restricted to local traffic only south of King’s Highway and north of Lower Bar BC Road.

See tomorrow’s Jackson Hole Daily for more on this developing story.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067, env@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGenviro.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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(2) comments

Timothy Mayo

Amen.

LauraJeane Coen

I find it interesting, at best, that Teton County, Wyoming has bike paths (like the $3M bridge over the Snake near the Wilson Bridge) that are better maintained and in better shape than the actual roads in the county. Should we start driving on the bike paths as they are in better shape than our roads? C''mon....Cattleman's Bridge has been in need of repair for at least a decade. Making repairs to it? How about just getting after it NOW and FIX it. I'm sure it has a lot to do with permitting, paperwork, agreements with contractors, etc. Ask yourself this: If the WILSON bridge were to be compromised, are we going to WAIT to repair it? I doubt it. Too much government, not enough common sense and WAY too many people here. Period.

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