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Front Page » October 15, 2002 » Local News » A Town Divided
Published 5,243 days ago

A Town Divided

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Green River City, finally united in one county finds itself divided again, this time by bridge work

Construction crews work on the rehabilitation of the Green River bridge.

Just when Green River City has been united into one county, Emery County; the town has been divided again by bridge rehabilitation. The bridge over the Green River is in the process of rehabilitation. The bridge closed to vehicular traffic on Sept. 30 and will remain closed for 60 days. The foot bridge is still in operation, however. The Utah Department of Transportation project is being completed by Wadsworth Brothers Construction from Salt Lake City.

Bryce Wadsworth said the deck of the bridge is being replaced with new cement and rebar. The steel on the bridge will also be rehabilitated and the frame will be stiffened. New bearings will also be installed, these are what the bridge slides on. The abutment and piers which are in the river will also be reinforced. New guardrails will be placed along the bridge when the rehabilitation is completed.

"You could see down to the water in some places. In several sections the rebar was gone. The deck has been stripped down to the steel framework and will be entirely rebuilt. The surface of the bridge will be concrete instead of asphalt. The wooden forms for the concrete are being installed now and the concrete will be poured over several days the last week of October. Half of the people working on the project are from the local area. We are on schedule with the project and hope to have it reopened the day before Thanksgiving although it is scheduled to open the day after. The bridge will be repainted to match the old color.

"Local businesses have been concerned that people would go past Green River because of the construction, but both ends of town seem to be splitting the business. If you come into town on the west exit or the east exit that's where the people stay. People are still coming into town. The truck stop is still full and doing a brisk business.

Road closure signs greet motorists who are unaware of the bridge work.

"State message boards have been installed to more clearly explain which exit to take and to explain about the closure. This added signage will help visitors to the area. We know it's inconvenient but the old bridge was getting pretty scary. It was a light structure that would rise and fall and we think that's part of why it was degrading so fast. Truckers said they could feel the bridge deflecting as they passed over. The new bridge will carry no weight restriction and will meet all standards," said Wadsworth.

According to Conae Black from the Green River City office, they have noticed a decrease in traffic through town. The businesses east of the bridge have noticed an increase in business while those west of the closure have noticed a slow down. Shady Acres said they have noticed a decrease in business. The Sleepy Hollow which normally closes down for the winter is still operating and renting rooms. There have been some complaints from angry truckers who were trying to approach the West Winds truck stop from the east exit and had a hard time turning around. They were not happy with the signs explaining the situation. However with the new flashing signs these types of problems will likely be avoided in the future. Most of the people live in the west side of town and those who have to drive to the east side to work have experienced inconvenience in getting to work. One lady tried to walk to work one day over the foot bridge and was pretty dusty when she arrived.

All in all the people of Green River will adapt and adjust to the problem of having their town divided for a short time. UDOT public involvement coordinator, Myron Lee said, "We have worked on coordinating with the city for the timing of this job and they wanted to shut it down both ways and complete the job all at once. They wanted to have the job started at the end of their tourist season which is why we chose October and November. We had talked about keeping one lane open while working on the other, but this would delay the completion of the project so they opted to close it completely down. We know this is a hardship on the town and we are trying to complete the bridge rehabilitation with the least impact as possible."

For more information contact Bryce Wadsworth, or Tom Reece, Public Information Officer for the project, at 1-801-576-1453.

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