Repairs on the historic Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls are scheduled to begin this week. The bridge suffered damage from a rock fall that occurred early in the morning Jan. 9. Catworks Construction, a construction company from Battle Ground, Wash., was awarded the contract for repairs and plans to complete the project by Memorial Day weekend.
Included in the $319,000 contract is repairing the damage from the rock fall, cleaning the bridge, and applying a new seal coat to the bridge. This new seal coat will prevent deterioration from the harsh and wet environment from the waterfall spray zone and should last up to 25 years.
Scaffolding will be hung from the bridge for repair work and the bridge will be draped with special tarps to prevent debris from entering Multnomah Creek and impacting water quality and fish habitat.
The Larch Mountain Trail #441 will be closed from the plaza up to the bridge during the duration of the project. Multnomah Falls Lodge and Visitor Center are open for business and visitors can still get spectacular views from the plaza. The Forest Service asks that visitors be aware of construction activities at the site and know that the bridge will also be obscured during the project.
The popular Wahkeena to Multnomah Falls hiking loop is impassable due to the closure, as well as the hike to the top of the falls. Once the repair work is completed, the trail and bridge will be open to the public for the summer season.
USFS asks that visitors look up current conditions and closures before planning a trip in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area at fs.us-da.gov/crgnsa. For more information on this project, contact Stan Hinatsu at 541-308-1708.