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A Bridge over Muddy Waters


The new bridge spans the Muddy River near Emery.

Construction has been completed on the new Muddy Creek bridge, just north of Emery. A detour had been built so no traffic interuptions were experienced by drivers as work on the bridge was finished and now traffic flow has been diverted back to the finished bridge. The reclamation work with reseeding the surrounding hillside has also been completed.

There was much concern from the Emery County Historic Preservation Commission when the new bridge project was undertaken. A brief history of the original bridge is outlined: The old Muddy Creek Bridge is a continuous rigid frame concrete T-beam constructed by A.O. Thorn in 1942 for the Utah State Road Commission for a cost of $24,471. The bridge rail (parapets) are concrete slotted cutouts and the panels on either end are recessed and curved. An Art Moderne/Art Deco stylized raised design resembling a Native American thunderbird motif is above the four piers. The wing span is about 16 feet wide and the whole motif is about 4 feet high. The design is in concrete raised two inches above the surrounding concrete field.

The Federal Highway Administration has provided funding for the Emery County Historic Preservation Commission for certain activities as mitigation for the adverse impacts the project is having on the bridge, as well as a nearby 19th century historic homestead. Emery County is making a scaled replica of the thunderbird motif by casting a mold of it on the bridge, and then using the cast at a roadside interpretive kiosk. The kiosk will have information about the history of Emery County, and the Muddy Creek bridge. The county has also been provided funding to complete an oral history that their historic preservation commission began prior to the bridge project. Copies of the oral history will be kept at the Utah State Historical Society and libraries in the county.

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