Demolition of the trestle bridge over the Fish Hook River is moving forward.

Kent Skaar, senior project manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division, said bids were sought for the bridge’s removal. The DNR estimated the cost to be $99,000.

Three bids were received, Skaar said, ranging from $75,000 to $899,000.

The DNR selected the low bidder, who “withdrew unexpectedly,” Skaar said. “With that said, we will be awarding to the second bidder that was above our estimate, but certainly wasn’t outside of the realm.”

The second bid was for $150,000.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Skaar said there isn’t a specific timeline, but the removal of the structure is expected to happen this year.

The steel will be hauled away and the slopes mildly graded for stabilization purposes, according to Skaar. The timber pile will be cut at or slightly below the existing bed.

“It’ll be an interesting one to watch. It’s a massive chunk of steel that’s got to come out of there, and there isn’t a lot of space to work,” he said.

Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce President Butch De La Hunt noted that dredging is needed under the red bridge in Park Rapids, where buoys currently mark low spots. Dredging is not included in the DNR's plans for the nearby trestle bridge.
Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce President Butch De La Hunt noted that dredging is needed under the red bridge in Park Rapids, where buoys currently mark low spots. Dredging is not included in the DNR's plans for the nearby trestle bridge.Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce President Butch De La Hunt inquired if dredging beneath the red bridge is included within the plan.

Skaar said there is no dredging.

“Our most photographed spot in Park Rapids, other than Itasca State Park, will continue to have the buoys there?” De La Hunt asked.

Whatever is out there will remain, Skaar replied. “We’re not dealing with any water channel activity at all. It’s just removal of the structure.”

“That’s too bad,” De La Hunt said.