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Trestle bridge dismantled

Hough Construction out of Detroit Lakes is steadily stripping away the 163-foot long trestle bridge over the Fish Hook River.

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A contractor is dismantling the trestle bridge over the Fish Hook River in Park Rapids.

Hough Construction out of Detroit Lakes is steadily stripping away the 163-foot long trestle bridge over the Fish Hook River.

Preparation began last week, Aug. 9-13. The contractor began mobilizing equipment and cutting large tree branches on the banks of the river.

David Schotzko, area supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Division of Parks and Trails, said the DNR put a 1,500-pound weight limit on the bridge in 2011.

At that time, the cost to make short-term repairs to the bridge was $196,000, he said, while a long-term fix would be $315,000 and removal was estimated at $500,000.

Schotzko said the DNR completed a hazardous material assessment in 2020 and found lead paint.

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He noted there is also a safety issue with use of the trestle bridge and trail because there are no stoplights where it intersects with State Hwy. 34.

This year, the DNR sought bids for removal of the structure and awarded the bid to Hough Construction at $150,000.

The railroad ties and wooden structure are filled with creosote, according to Schotzko. They will be hauled away to an incinerator for disposal.

The construction area is covered by curtains, and the lead paint must be sealed and removed.

On Thursday, Aug. 19, sections of steel were being detached from the 54-foot metal span.

The slopes will be mildly graded for stabilization purposes. The timber pile will be cut at or slightly below the existing bed.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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