Bridge upgrade planned at wildlife refuges River S unit

first_imgIt’s going to get a little easier getting in and out of the southern section of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge after next year.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to build a bridge more than twice as long, about twice as wide and about a third taller than the current bridge that crosses Lake River to the River ‘S’ unit of the wildlife refuge.Currently, drivers have to cross BNSF Railway tracks, then drive across a 54-foot single-lane wooden trestle bridge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a new two-lane, four-span girder concrete bridge that will be 115 feet long.Perhaps most significantly, it will go above the train tracks, thus eliminating the at-grade crossing.“It eliminates a huge safety issue with us. At River ‘S’ that’s our only entry point to the auto tour and hunting unit,” said Chris Lapp, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex project leader. “At times the BNSF tracks get blocked between engineer shifts so those trains will stop and sometimes they’re there for hours. … So if you’re on the unit or trying to get to it, you’re stuck because the tracks are blocked. If we had an emergency with a hunter, we wouldn’t be able to get them out quickly.”In addition to improving access to the unit, putting the roadway over the tracks will remove the requirement for trains to blow their whistles when passing through.last_img

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