Obstacles hinder Tish Creek Bridge repairs

The Tish Creek Bridge has been out since last winter.

The Tish Creek Bridge has been out since last winter. September 20, 2016, (KOIN)
The Tish Creek Bridge has been out since last winter. September 20, 2016, (KOIN)

EAGLE CREEK, Ore. (KOIN) — The bridge on a popular gorge hike may take longer than expected to fix.

The Tish Creek Bridge has been out since last winter.

In and out, up and around, hikers are taking advantage of Eagle Creek Trail. However, about 2.5 miles of the Tish Creek Bridge is still damaged and not usable.

As the U.S. Forest Service plans for a new one, nature is trying to hold it back.

Officials say there is no way to pack out the damaged bridge and pack in a new bridge.

What that means is crews are going to have to replace it by helicopter. But it’s not just that. A new element could slow down the bridge repair process for quite some time.

The spotted owl, found in this part of the country, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Because of potentially threatened owls in the area, the U.S. Forest Service would normally have to do a survey that could take 2 years. Instead, they’re moving forward with a different plan.

The U.S. Forest Service can only use the helicopter for bridge repairs during the October to March time frame in order to protect foraging and breeding activities of the owls, officials said.

Repairs are expected to be finished for 2017.

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