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Temporary Vesuvius bridge expected before winter

PEDRO — The bridge at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area may have fallen victim to the massive July rains, but before temperatures drop much more there should be a temporary structure in place.

Recently County Engineer David Lynd met with officials from the Federal Highway Administration about options for getting County Road 29 up and running as a thoroughfare after the bridge was washed out last month.

The tentative plan is for a temporary steel structure to be built downstream of the current bridge to allow for the replacement of that bridge.

“We would hope to have something before Thanksgiving,” Lynd said. “The permanent structure you’re looking at at least a year. You will have to do foundation design and hydraulic design.”

The funding is expected to come 100 percent from the FHA.

“We wouldn’t actually be doing the contracting award,” the engineer said.

The construction contract would be let by the National Forest Service, since County Road 29 is also Forest Highway 2. The existing bridge is a historic structure built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

“It is sort of the entrance to the park and you would like to build something similar,” Lynd said.

That bridge was widened in 1990 as part of a long-term major construction project of County Road 29 that began in the 1980s.

Federal participation in both projects would be a plus for the county, Commissioner Les Boggs said.

“When you talk about funding the bridge, it is not just the construction, it is also the design,” he said. “They are going to do it all.”

“It is a tremendous help to us. It definitely will help out county financially and it definitely helps out the people,” Commissioner Doug Malone said.