The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and Teton County announced the recent closure of a temporary bridge over the Gros Ventre River that had been carrying traffic over the river while the permanent bridge, Cattleman’s Bridge, is under construction. One of the structure piers on the temporary bridge was sinking, due to scouring from high water flows from the spring runoff in the river.
“Our biggest concern was the safety of the traveling public,” said WYDOT District Engineer Keith Compton in a press release. “When it became apparent that the scouring would not subside, crews began working on diverting the water flow. A failure of the temporary bridge would cause harm to crews working in the area and potentially damage the new structure that is under construction.”
WYDOT and the contractor, Reiman Corp., decided that the damage to the temporary bridge was too substantial to safely reopen, so crews will bring in more manpower and resources to accelerate work on the new structure in hopes of opening it within the next three to four weeks.
“The temporary bridge was constructed only to carry traffic until the new bridge was completed — the new structure has been designed to current standards, which includes resistance to anticipated future scouring,” Compton added in the press release.
WYDOT and Reiman Corp. are asking for the public’s patience and help during construction, and engineers are asking the public to stay clear of the Cattleman’s Bridge area because of the accelerated activity to open the new structure.
“The damage and closure of the temporary bridge is truly unfortunate, but public safety is our first priority,” said Sean O’Malley, director of Teton County Public Works. “The contractor is working to finish the project as quickly as possible, and we sincerely appreciate the patience of all the residents that are affected by this temporary closure.”
The $3.8 million project is part WYDOT’s Bridge Replacement Off System program where WYDOT partners with local counties to replace deficient bridges that are not part of the state highway system.