South of Vernonia – Highway 47 north of Stub Stewart State Park and south of Vernonia Springs has been closed for 60 days to replace the bridge that brings the state-owned highway over Beaver Creek near mile post 70, but it won’t be opening today as originally planned.
According to a statement released by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on October 2, unforeseen circumstances – “some complications during construction” – have delayed the $3.1 million dollar project to replace the bridge over Beaver Creek.
The Post has learned through phone calls with ODOT public information officer Angela Beers-Seydel that crews working on the bridge discovered large logs in the construction are that could either be the vestiges of Highway 47 past, or just a naturally occurring problem caused by erosion and stream movement over time.
“Large diameter logs were found in the fill soil underneath the existing road that they didn’t expect to be there,” said Beers-Seydel. “And so, it took a lot of extra time to get those out of there.”
The bridge replacement project had originally been scheduled earlier in the summer, but was moved to accommodate the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree and Logging Show on August 3-5.
A detour has been established using Timber Road; cyclists and pedestrians can detour using the Banks-Vernonia Trail and continue to or from Vernonia using the trail, or get back on the highway after the closed area.
For locals, access will be allowed on McDonald Road, north of the closure, and Johnson Road, south of the closure.
The $3.1 million project is necessary, according to state officials, because the existing bridge is old and in poor condition, requiring regular maintenance.
For updates, visit the ODOT project website.