The concrete deck, sidewalks, and parapets of the bridge over the Yellowstone River at the Northeast Entrance Road near Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park have deteriorated so badly that the National Park Service (NPS) wants to replace it, the Montana Standard reports.
The bridge, which was built in the early 1960s, is the only one that provides residents of Cooke City and Silver Gate with a year-round link to Gardiner and beyond. The environmental assessment will consider the following three options:
- Take no action.
- Replace the bridge with a larger 30-foot-wide, 1,200-foot-long bridge 500 feet south of the existing location, which would include constructing 1 mile of new road to line up with the new bridge. The existing bridge and approximately 1.5 miles of existing road would then be removed and the area restored.
- Construct a new bridge directly adjacent to and slightly north of the existing bridge and remove the existing bridge afterward. The new bridge would be approximately 600 feet long and 30 feet wide, and the road would be moved north to connect with the new bridge.
Alternatives 2 and 3 would also reconfigure and expand the Yellowstone River Picnic Area and improve turnouts for vehicles along the road.
The assessment should be completed by the spring of 2020, after which the document will be placed on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website for public review and comment. A decision on the project will be made by the summer of 2020.
More information about the proposal can be found at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/yrb.