Two dilapidated pedestrian bridges in Riverside State Park could be reopened by the end of next year.
The Washington Parks and Recreation Commission voted recently to spend nearly $500,000 to replace the heavily used suspension bridge over the Bowl and Pitcher rapids and rebuild the Centennial Trail bridge over Deep Creek.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” Riverside Park Manager Gary Herron said. “It’s great news.”
The suspension bridge, used by nearly 144,000 people each year to access campsites and hiking trails on the west side of the Spokane River, was closed in February after engineers decided it was no longer safe.
The wood-and-wire span was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1941 and renovated by the U.S. Forest Service in the 1950s.
Rangers shut down the Deep Creek bridge last October after they discovered the span’s wooden supports were rotting.
The closure limited access to the westernmost portion of Centennial Trail, a popular path used by hikers, bicyclists and horse riders.
A Parks and Recreation official said Wednesday the commission used money earmarked for improvements at parks in Western Washington to pay for the bridge repairs.
“We had to do some shuffling, but the commissioners saw the bridges as a priority,” spokeswoman Susan Zemek said.
Engineers already are at work designing a new suspension bridge, spokeswoman Susan Zemek said, Demolition of the old span is scheduled for this fall.with design work on the Deep Creek bridge likely will begin before the end of the year, she added.
Parks Officials hope to begin Construction on both bridges should begin next spring and finish in six to nine months, Zemek said.