Thompson Falls High Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Thompson Falls, Montana

Award Type: Honor Award

The rehabilitation of the century-old Parker-Pratt Deck Truss High Bridge over the Clark Fork River exemplifies 30 years of persistent vision, partnerships, and fundraising perseverance.

Spanning 588 feet between the towns of Cherry Creek and Island Park, the 80-foot high Parker-Pratt-style Thompson Falls High Bridge has connected two remote communities on opposite shores of the Clark Fork River for nearly 70 years. The structure remained a local link until it was closed to motorized traffic in the early 1970s and, as the wood deck continued to deteriorate, was closed to bicycle and pedestrian access in 1979.

For the next 30 years, county leaders patiently saved Transportation Enhancement funding and secured federal, state and private grants, while rallying local support by forming a Bridge the Gap steering committee. During the winter of 2009 and 2010—using innovative, cost-saving measures—the bridge was renovated without contaminating the water below and is now open once again.