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Historic High Bridge

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Historic High Bridge

an economic success story in Sanders County

Sanders County commissioners announced a celebration ceremony in honor of the completion of the Historic High Bridge Renovation in Thompson Falls, Mont. The dedication of the newly renovated bridge will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 3 pm on the north side of the High Bridge on Island Park.

The High Bridge was built in 1911 to support construction of the Thompson Falls Hydroelectric Dam. It was the primary route across the Clark Fork River at Thompson Falls until 1928, when a new bridge was built over the river at Birdland Bay. It remained a key link to access for the Cherry Creek area until the early 1970s, when it was closed to vehicular use due to deterioration of the decking. Further deterioration closed the bridge to all use by the late 1970s. It’s the longest bridge of its kind that is still standing. It was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as part of the Thompson Falls Hydroelectric Dam Historic District.

 Now, over 30 years after it was closed to use, the bridge has been returned to its former glory and will be officially re-opened as a new pedestrian and bicycle connection between Thompson Falls and the south side of the Clark Fork River. Over the past decade, the county commissioners worked diligently to secure funding for the renovation of this historic structure.  And, for the last two-and-a-half years, a group of citizens from throughout Sanders County have met as a steering committee to assist the commissioners in making this project a reality.

A wide variety of funding was secured for this work, with the primary funds coming from the county’s allocation of Community Transportation Enhancement Program funds, together with funds appropriated under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Other funds were secured from a variety of public and private grant sources. Finally, almost $40,000 was contributed from local residents over the last six months as part of community fund-raising effort.

The commissioners are thrilled about the re-open this historic bridge; and they want to recognize all those who contributed their time, effort, knowledge and dollars to the effort; and celebrate the new recreational opportunities that this bridge creates. Parking will be available in the Valley Bank parking lot (Gallatin St. & Maiden Lane) as well as on street parking at Gallatin Street and Maiden Lane. Once parked, proceed across the Gallatin Street Bridge to Island Park and continue straight on the trail to the Historic High Bridge.

-Katrina Wright

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Author info

Katrina Wright Katrina Wright is the manager of the Thompson Falls Farmer's Market

Tagged as:

recreation, history, Sanders County, bridge, travel

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