Kids tackle Rockville Bridge preservation in essay contest; Joint Highway Committee meets about bridge options

The Historic Rockville Bridge crosses the Virgin River, Rockville, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Joyce Hartless, St. George News

ROCKVILLE The public is invited to vote online to decide two elementary school student winners of an essay and poetry contest about the Historic Rockville Bridge. The contest coincides with meetings held at the Dixie Center St. George by the Joint Highway Committee that will address concerns and options for the bridge.

Springdale Elementary sign, Springdale, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Joyce Hartless, St. George News
Springdale Elementary sign, Springdale, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Joyce Hartless, St. George News

Essay contest – how to vote

Rockville resident Joyce Hartless, a member of the Rockville Bridge Fundraising Committee, met with students of Springdale Elementary School on March 2. She presented the students a slide show about the bridge and its significance as the last surviving Parker through-truss bridge in the state of Utah.

The presentation highlighted the bridge’s historic beginnings and its value today as the only public Virgin River crossing for 14 1/2 miles, connecting Rockville’s Main Street to the recreational areas of Gooseberry Mesa, Smithsonian Butte and Historic Grafton as well as the communities of Hildale and Apple Valley.

“The students put their best effort into this project,” Springdale Elementary Principal Chris Snodgress said.  “Many of them have visited the bridge with their families.”

Rockville bridge upon completion, Rockville, Utah, photo not dated | Photo courtesy of Rockville Town, St. George News
Rockville bridge upon completion, Rockville, Utah, photo not dated | Photo courtesy of Rockville Town, St. George News

Edyth Lang, a teacher at the school, agreed with Snodgress.

“Through this project they learned the value of a significant historic structure located right here in the Zion Canyon,” Lang said.

A panel of local writing enthusiasts, including language arts educators, reporters and authors, have selected first, second, and third place winners for each grade level and these finalists’ compositions have been posted to the Historic Rockville Bridge’s Facebook page.

Rockville Bridge StGeorgeNews.com
Rockville Bridge, Rockville Town, Utah, June 23, 2013 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

To cast a vote, visit the SES Writing Contest event on the Historic Rockville Bridge’s Facebook page before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26.  To vote for an essay or poem, just click “like.”

There will be one winner in the Kindergarten-to-second-grade group and one winner in the third-through-fifth-grade group.  Those two grand prize recipients will be awarded a Kindle Fire to encourage continued reading, exploring and learning.

Current options, public meeting of the Joint Highway Committee

Built in 1924, the fate of the Rockville Bridge has been in limbo since its weight capacity was downgraded to 14 tons which limits connectivity to the south side of the Virgin River and raises costs of construction on that side because of the additional cost of carrying smaller construction loads across the bridge.

Options for the bridge are few and include bridge replacement, building an additional bridge or rehabilitating the existing bridge. Because of the high cost of rehabilitating the bridge, a change in scope to the bridge grant would be needed to help cover the costs.

Rockville Bridge StGeorgeNews.com
Rockville Bridge, Rockville Town, Utah, June 23, 2013 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

Joint Highway Committee meetings are being held at the Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive in St. George, Thursday and Friday. Among other agenda items, the Rockville bridge will be considered and the public may attend.

Thursday at 2 p.m., Hartless said, the advisory board to the Joint Highway Committee will meet with Rockville Town officials, engineers, historians and other interested parties about the bridge. 

Friday from 11:20 a.m. to 1 p.m. the bridge is on the committee’s agenda, Hartless said. Rockville Town will be requesting a change in scope for the grant to enable rehabilitation of the historic bridge rather than having it replaced.

Springdale Elementary essay contest

  • What: Online voting for Springdale Elementary writing contest
  • When: Thursday, April 21 through Wednesday, April 26 at 8 p.m.
  • Where: SES Writing Contest event page on Facebook
  • Additional information: Click “like” on your favorite story to vote

Joint Highway Committee meetings

  • What: Joint Highway Committee Meeting
  • When: Thursday, 2 p.m. and Friday between 11:20 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie Convention Center, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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