Swinging bridge in Jay Cooke State Park reopens to the public (With Photos)

By KBJR News 1

Credit: Minnesota DNR

Swinging bridge in Jay Cooke State Park reopens to the public (With Photos)

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November 1, 2013 Updated Nov 1, 2013 at 12:19 PM CDT

Carlton, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- 16 months after devastating floods washed away the park's iconic bridge, the Jay Cooke State Park Swinging Bridge has finally reopened to the public.

Visitors lined up Friday morning to be some of the first to cross the historic structure since it was rebuilt. The reconstructed bridge includes accessibility improvements and design features that recreate some of the work performed by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in 1934.

“The flood was challenging," says Park Manager Gary Hoeft."But it was an opportunity to restore this beautiful bridge and make it better than ever. We still have some work to do in some areas of the park, but reopening the bridge signals a major step forward in the park’s recovery after the flood.”

The repairs cost about $1.1 million with money coming from the 2012 bonding bill and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The reconstruction included improvements that make the 219-foot bridge ADA-compliant and more accessible to an aging population. The approach ramp at the south end of the bridge includes a wheelchair platform and turnaround location.

Large, cedar log handrails were incorporated on the approach ramps to closely match historical photos, and skilled stonemasons worked to repair and restore the look of the support pillars while meeting modern engineering requirements.

During the June 2012 floods, 55,000 cubic feet of water per second rushed downstream, taking with it the swinging bridge. A tangled pile of trees and limbs, called the “bird nest,” is perched on the rocky ledge upstream from the bridge and serves as a marker of the floodwaters high mark.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns
kburns@kbjr.com

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