(KDKZ-TV) The pedestrian bridge over the Jacks Fork River along Highway 106 at Alley Spring is permanently closed and the Jacks Fork River beneath and adjacent to the bridge is temporarily closed to all visitor use. This includes all activities such as swimming, floating, fishing and gravel bar use within 100 feet of the bridge. This closure does not affect the highway bridge, which is next to the pedestrian bridge.
The pedestrian bridge was structurally damaged during the April 2017 flood and was closed to foot traffic at that time while the park sought funding to repair the bridge and the damaged water and sewer utilities beneath. However, in February 2018, additional flooding caused an eight foot rise of the Jacks Fork River. An emergency inspection recently performed by a Federal Highway Administration bridge engineer determined the stability of the pedestrian bridge has been further compromised and has now created a safety hazard to anyone nearby.
The National Park Service has been notified that ongoing movement of two of the bridge piers has increased. Based on field observations and evaluation of the bridge plans, any increase in water volume or wind has the potential to cause the structure to collapse. Closure of the river below it is required to avoid injury to park visitors. This temporary closure is intended to prevent river users from passing under the bridge to avoid personal injury should the bridge collapse.
Park visitors who are floating upstream from the bridge must take out at the Alley Spring gravel bar above the bridge (near the campground) and are prohibited from floating underneath the bridge. The Burr Oak day use area just downstream from the bridge will serve as an alternate river access for concession operations and visitors who want to float downstream from Alley Spring. The Burr Oak day use area is located on the north side of the Jacks Fork River, just south of the Alley Mill parking lot.