Apr 2013 · Index · August 2013

This issue covers only one scary bridge, located in Montana at the southern end of Glacier National Park. The area is densely forested and provides for general picturesque photos. Just south of the park there are numerous bridges on Highway 2 and the adjacent railroad. These make for nice pictures, such as the Sheep Creek bridge. However, so far as could be determined, they are well designed and maintained.

Photo of railroad bridge across Sheep Creek

Thankfully, at least for this webpage, a scary foot bridge was found in the park itself. It is located where the South Boundary Trail crosses Ole Creek. A nice foot bridge, with a few issues. The sign does not show up well in this picture, but clearly states a load limit of One Hiker At a Time. This seems appropriate given how much the bridge sways when one crosses.

In many ways this is reminiscent of the Cochamo foot bridge covered in a previous issue. It even has some non-structural duct tape!

Duct tape on Ole Creek Bridge

The Ole Creek Bridge is a bit wider and had better decking. It also gets more use, both winter and summer. The gouges in the decking appear to have been caused by winter hikers walking across it in crampons. Which is hard on the wood, but rot is more of a problem.

Over all the Ole Creek Bridge is of higher quality construction. In fact, it nearly did not merit an entry in this page.

Detail of cables on Ole Creek Bridge

However, a flaw in the decking allowed it to qualify. Actually, why this really allows it to qualify is because you could discover a similar flaw while crossing, resulting in a broken leg or fall into the river.

Broken plank in Ole Creek bridge

It is not clear how long this issue was present. The Park Service clearly maintains this bridge, so I suspect they will correct it soon. Unless, of course, their bridge repair budget was sequestered - leaving a gap in the bridge repair budget corresponding to the gap in the bridge.

Apr 2013 · Index · August 2013

© David C. Hunter, 2013
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