Tonto National Forest officials say the bridge crossings at Bonita and Perley creeks are open to public traffic.
The bridges on Forest Road 64/Forest Highway 51 (also referred to as Control Road) are near the intersection of Forest Road 431 and the Control Road.
These are the first two of seven new bridges to be opened to traffic. The remaining five bridges will be opening between now and mid-March as they are completed.
“The construction for the project began last summer and has proceeded rapidly utilizing a design-build type of construction contract. The contractor, Austin Bridge & Road from Phoenix faced many environmental and engineering challenges during construction,” stated Tom Puto, project manager.
“Several snowstorms and cold weather hampered construction in December, but they were able to continue the concrete work by building plastic tents around formwork and heating freshly placed concrete to prevent freezing during the initial curing period.”
A study of U.S. Forest Service bridges completed in 2009 concluded that seven bridges were load-restricted and approaching the limits of their original design life. Additionally, the bridges were considered too narrow to accommodate simultaneous two-way traffic and were not rated to carry heavier, modern vehicles, all of which are safety issues. The new bridges are all 25 feet wide and have span lengths that vary from 30 feet at Bonita Creek to 87 feet at Webber Creek.