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Bridge work continues on Fish Hook

Crews are busy pouring concrete and moving dirt along the shores of Fish Hook River to prepare the site for a new bridge. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
Concrete is hauled in a large bucket to be poured on the site. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

By Anna Erickson

The site of the former Red Bridge is buzzing with activity as contractors ready the banks of the Fish Hook River for a new bridge.

Project manager Jeff Erickson said that concrete work is underway.

“At this point the contractor is building the new concrete abutment on the west side,” he said. “They will likely be finishing the west abutment next week and will start removing the point on the east side soon.”

The Department of Natural Resources project will eventually replace the Red Bridge with a 180-foot steel structure. The bridge will be approximately three times as long as the Red Bridge and extend further onto land east of the river.

The height between the bridge and Fish Hook River will stay at 7 ½ feet. The extra length is to make the bridge handicapped accessible.

Most of the bridge replacement will take place this fall except for the concrete decking. Because it will be late fall, the DNR will likely wait until spring to complete that part of the bridge.

City officials had been working with a committee on a location in the park to move the bridge. The east side of the park was deemed the best place for the bridge to be placed. However, the crew moved the bridge to the west side of the park.

The city anticipates the bridge could be moved to the east side of the park without much trouble because crews will be on site for a while.

The city Parks Board will continue to look at possible Red Bridge Park amenities for 2014, including possible landscaping around the old bridge and benches. Ideas will likely be presented to the city council in early 2014.

Earlier this fall, construction was done on Beach Road to replace the sanitary sewer and water main through the area of Red Bridge Park.

This was the first part of the Red Bridge Park project. After the sewer and water lines were replaced, the road was restored to gravel until next spring.

After the bridge is completed, the city will finish the improvement project, which will include paving the road and parking lot, along with the trail along the north side of Beach Road.

The city received $137,000 in grant funding for the improvements. The new steel bridge is paid for with state DNR funding.

The Red Bridge replacement project is part of a larger Heartland Trail master plan. It will reroute the current trail, which goes across the trestle bridge to Highway 34. The trestle bridge is in poor condition and is posted now for a maximum of 1,500 pounds. The DNR will remove the trestle bridge as part of the project. It will not be replaced.

The trestle bridge will be removed one or two years after the Red Bridge replacement project is completed, DNR officials said previously.

The project will align with the Heartland Trail master plan, which shows the trail heading west through Red Bridge Park and along Beach Road with the final destination being Moorhead.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561