The ill-fated and long-awaited bridge over Indian Creek on Camp Crook Road is open, but some work needs to be completed before it gets final approval from a third party engineering firm.
County road superintendent Don Adams told Butte County Commissioners last week it still had some work under the bridge by a certified welder and some dirt work before the engineers could approve the project as finally completed.
The new bridge is a 60-foot clear span over the gully that spans a creek bed. The creek can seem a dry run in summer and yet bring serious spring flooding and ice jams.
The 1950s wooden bridge was around 100 feet long. Wood pilings were damaged by broken-up ice in 2009, then destroyed in a fire during emergency repairs.
The contractor, Heavy Constructors of Rapid City, offered to replace the bridge at no additional cost by using steel planned for the repair and materials they had on hand. That solution was turned down on grounds that the 1950s bridge width would not meet current federal standards. It would have removed the bridge from the state and federal replacement list.
Since that time, a state and federally-approved solution, a combination causeway and culvert setup, washed away in spring flooding.
Negotiations involving the contractor and its insurance company, county and state officials, finally came to an agreement that an outside engineering firm would design and review construction of a replacement bridge.
The Camp Crook Road is in the northwest part of Butte County in sparsely-populated ranch country.
The bridge serves the small community of Camp Crook and carries ranch traffic that ranges from cars and pickup trucks to semis loaded with livestock or livestock-oriented supplies.