By Ron VandenBoom
A potentially dangerous situation on Highway 234 in Beaver Creek Park has been avoided thanks to quick action by the state Department of Transportation.
Ross Gammon, DOT maintenance chief in the Havre area, said his department recently received a report of a large pothole in the bridge about a mile south of the entrance to the park. Crews sent to repair the pothole determined that simply repairing the hole would not be sufficient and that the entire deck was dangerous and needed to be replaced.
Thursday the department removed all of the asphalt covering on the bridge and replaced the decking with 6-by-17-inch planks.
A 9-ton weight limit that had been imposed on the structure before the decking was replaced has now been lifted, Gammon said, and truck traffic will again be allowed to cross.
Gammon said the wooden decking will not again be covered with asphalt until after bids are let sometime this November and construction can begin sometime in the spring of 2002.
Warning signs have been posted and a speed limit of 25 mph has been imposed while the bridge is waiting to be repaired. Gammon said visitors to the park should be very careful when crossing the bridge until final repairs can be completed.