(Update: Adding video, comments from Smith Rock Park manager)
TERREBONNE, Ore., (KTVZ) -- The pedestrian bridge at Smith Rock State Park, which was slated to reopen this week, will remain closed through at least September and likely into mid-October due to a support beam damaged in transit and resulting delay in construction, park officials said this week.
A wooden support beam was damaged on the way down into the canyon during a complicated delivery that required a full day of slowly maneuvering six beams down to the bridge site, officials said. The wooden beam has already been shipped away for repairs.
"We had six new beams being delivered into the canyon, which is very steep and with tight corners. And it's a very complicated and tricky delivery." said Park Manager Matt Davey said Wednesday. "So the first beam that went down into the canyon and received a little bit of damage during that delivery process."
“We apologize for the delay, and we continue to ask for patience during this highly complicated project,” Davey said. “We’re working hard to create safer access for future visitors with a bridge that will accommodate all of our guests and emergency responders.”
The new pedestrian bridge will measure eight feet wide and better accommodate life-saving equipment during the frequent rescue operations at the park. The old bridge was built nearly 50 years ago, had significant wear and needs replacing.
The footbridge spans the Crooked River and connects the front of the park with many but not all of its hiking trails and climbing destinations. There is no temporary bridge, and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department highly discourages wading across the river, which could damage sensitive habitat or cause visitor injury.
"The river can be unpredictable, and the river levels change daily out here." Davey said.
There are many areas of the park that don’t require bridge access including Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop. Visit the welcome center or go the website or SmithRock.com to learn about these other areas.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will update information on the footbridge closure dates and times on the Smith Rock webpage and through smithrock.com/ as information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the park at 541-548-7501 or email the park manager at Matthew.DAVEY@oprd.oregon.gov.
- Trails that will stay open include: Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Rope-de-Dope Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop
- Climbing areas accessible during construction include: North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails), Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail) and The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)