Oct 13, 2015

New Willwood bridge to be ready next fall

Slated for completion in October 2016, a new bridge just downstream of the Willwood Dam will convey motorists coming and going.

The bridge will connect with the original road on each side of the river, said Mike Eckhardt, Wyoming Department of Transportation (WyDOT) construction inspector.

Workers from Sletten Construction, Inc., of Great Falls, Montana, were busy setting concrete forms for a 60-foot pier on Wednesday, one of two that will support the new bridge. Cody News Co. photo by Gib Mathers
The cost of the bridge is more than $3.4 million. Ninety percent of the funding is federal with Park County contributing the remaining 10 percent, Beers said. 

Sletten Construction, Inc., of Great Falls, Montana, is the prime contractor.

“I’d say they’re about on their schedule,” Eckhardt said. “Maybe a week behind where they’d like to be.”

Because the bridge is being constructed off the main road, there are no traffic delays, but there will be traffic delays when construction begins in the summer of 2016 to connect the new bridge to the existing roads, Eckhardt said.

The old bridge crosses the Willwood Dam, built in 1932.

Once the new bridge is completed, the old bridge over the dam will be closed to public use, said Tom Walker, Willwood Irrigation District manager.

The new bridge will allow space for farm equipment to cross the river. “It will definitely improve the level of safety,” Beers said.

On the north or Powell side it is Park County Lane 14. The south side is Road 18, Eckhardt said.

The bridge under construction is about 200 feet downstream of the existing Willwood Bridge/Dam. It will be 420 feet long, said Todd Frost, WyDOT resident engineer in Cody.

The new bridge has the same span as the Corbett Bridge on U.S. Highway 14-A east of Cody, said Cody Beers, WyDOT public relations specialist.


The bridge will be 28 feet wide. It will have two12-foot-wide lanes and two 2-foot-wide shoulders, Eckhardt said. Twelve feet is the standard lane width.

The bridge's approximate height over the water is 60-70 feet, Frost said.

Two piers — approximately 60 feet high — will support two girders, Eckhardt said. The piers’ footings beneath the water are 30 feet by 30 feet and 6 feet deep. The footing supporting the pier on the north side is sunk 5 feet into the bedrock below the river. The footing on the south side is 13 feet into the bedrock, Eckhardt said.

Caps will top the piers to support four girders, 120 feet in length, spanning the bridge. The bridge’s surface will be concrete covering the girders, Eckhardt said.

The new roads connecting the bridge will be paved with asphalt to tie into the existing road on each side of the bridge, Eckhardt said.

The bridge, piers, footings and abutments will have a total of 16,000 cubic yards of concrete, Eckhardt said.   

WyDOT has multiple webcams capturing the project.
There are abutments on each side of the river. The abutments are sunk at least 1 foot into the bedrock, Eckhardt said.

On the north side of the river, where the Shoshone feeds the Willwood Canal, a 12-foot by 12-foot box culvert will be installed to channel irrigation water, Frost said.

Speed limits on the bridge and road will be the same as current speed limits, Eckhardt said.

WyDOT has set up multiple webcams to capture the project's progress, available to view online.

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