Rehabilitation of historic Rockville bridge set to begin

Rockville Bridge, Rockville, Utah, date unknown | Photo courtesy of Robin Smith, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Work on the historic Rockville bridge is to begin Sept. 4 with the construction of a temporary bypass on the east side of the bridge. It should be completed by mid-October.

Updated Sept. 14, 11 a.m. – Rockville town officials announced that it will be necessary to close the bridge to vehicular traffic on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. while the construction workers place the girders for the temporary bridge.

Rockville Bridge looking north, Rockville, Utah, July 25, 2016 | File photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

All access to the Virgin River around the bridge will be closed until February when the rehabilitation project is expected to be complete.

Rockville Mayor Pam Leach is asking that those traveling through the area be considerate of construction crews and equipment and obey the posted speed limit. Work hours are Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Talk of restoring the 217-foot bridge first began in 2013 after plans were made to replace it with a two-lane bridge after the Utah Department of Transportation lowered the load rating from 25 tons to 14 tons in 2012.

Read more: Future of historic Rockville Bridge in question

A survey of Rockville’s 247 residents found that 74 percent of them would rather restore the bridge than replace it. A $2.5 million grant provided most of the funds needed for the restoration, and the town of Rockville was tasked with raising 6.77 percent to match the grant, a total of $169,250. The money was raised through fundraising, donations and $100,000 from the state of Utah.

The bridge, which was first built in 1924, holds a great deal of historical significance for Rockville, and today it provides access to Grafton, Utah, Zion Canyon communication towers and the road to Apple Valley.

Read more: Town leaders seek support for Rockville Bridge rehabilitation

The restoration will consist of strengthening the steel members of the bridge, removing the culinary waterline and installing a new deck system, according to the town of Rockville website.

The deck will be replaced with transverse timber glulam which will restore the 25-ton load capacity, provide a smooth and quiet driving surface and should last for about 50 years. The hardwood running boards, which receive the most wear from vehicles, are easy to replace.

The final paint coat on the bridge will match the bridge’s current rusted steel color.

Rehabilitation has been planned so as to not affect its National Registry of Historic Places status.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

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