SHERIDAN – Work crews from JDL Construction began work last week installing a small bridge over Indian Creek east of Sheridan to allow public access up the county road.
A bridge over the creek existed previously, but was removed about 10 years ago due to safety concerns about the old structure, said Madison County District 1 commissioner Dave Schulz. He estimated the original bridge was built in the 1930s or 40s.
Madison County Commissioner Dave Schulz inspects a bridge site Thursday that will allow the public to cross over Indian Creek east of Sheridan. Photo by Ben Coulter.
The surface of the access road up Indian Creek was improved earlier this year with a road grader, and while it is far from a paved highway Schulz explains that the work was a significant improvement over what it was before. The road is currently passable in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but motorists were forced to ford the creek to do so. As a result they were trespassing on adjacent private land in addition to stirring up the creek by driving through it.
“The road and the bridge were the two biggest obstacles to doing anything up there,” Schulz said.
“When we took it out, we always had the anticipation of putting it back in,” he continued. “It’s access to Forest Service and there’s a mine up there that could either be reactivated or possibly reclaimed by the mine owner or both.”
The foundation for the bridge is made of gravel along the stream banks where concrete abutments will be set in place on either side of the creek. From there three sections of concrete will be set to form the bridge. Erosion fabric is used to prevent sediment from washing downstream.
The $65,000 project is funded primarily by two Forest Service Resource Advisory Council Title 2 funds. Of that budget approximately $20,000 was allotted for improvements to the road and $30,000 for the bridge. The remaining $15,000 was contributed by Madison County.
“The main reasons that we are putting the bridge back in are to provide access to public land and try to further disperse our recreational population,” explained Schulz. “It will put the road back where it belongs.”