Willapa Hills Trail gets new bridges and a celebration

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission have announced that work on several bridges on the completion of several bridges on the 56-mile Willapa Hills State Park Trail have been completed. The recreation trail connects South Bend with Chehalis.

A dedication on June 18 is set to celebrate the completions.

The trail was originally railroad tracks leading into the Willapa Bay. According to Washington State Parks history, passenger trains declined and the line was abandoned in 1990. Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission acquired the right-of-way for use as a trail in 1993.

The bridge completions will be celebrated at a public dedication event scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Adna Trailhead, about five miles west of Chehalis.

The following Saturday, June 25, Lewis County Community Trails plays host to the Willapa Hills Trail Fat Tire Ride and Festival, with a ride from Chehalis to Pe Ell (Details at www.ridethewillapa.com.)

Recently completed bridge projects include:

  • Bridge 5, five miles west of Chehalis: The project replaced decking and rails on combination steel and wood bridge with trestles. Project cost was $550,000, with grant funding provided by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Design by State Parks and MC Squared of Olympia, and construction by Tapani, Inc., Battle Ground.
  • Spooner Bridge,6 miles west of Chehalis: Replacement of railroad trestles destroyed in 2007 flood, with 300-foot, single-span post-tensioned steel truss and concrete bridge. Project cost was $2.3 million, with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds. Design by OTAK, Inc., of Vancouver and Portland, OR and construction by Quigg Brothers, Inc., Aberdeen.
  • Dryad Bridge,16 miles west of Chehalis: Replacement of bridge destroyed in 2007 flood, with a post-tensioned steel-truss and concrete deck structure. Project design by OTAK, Inc., of Vancouver and Portland, OR and construction by Quigg Brothers, Inc., Aberdeen.
  • Bridge 27,funded with a mix of support that includes $62,000 in capital dollars, $100,000 from the Washington State Parks Foundation through a donation from the Boeing Company and a $40,000 donation by Lewis County Community Trails. Design and construction was completed by State Parks staff.

The rail trail is paved in two separate segments. The first is between Chehalis and Adna, and the second is between South Bend and Raymond. The segment between Adna and PeEll has a surface of compacted gravel that makes for comfortable walking and bicycle riding, with softer shoulders that work well for horses. Several bridges and much of the surface of trail in the Pacific County segment remain unimproved, and State Parks has plans to complete this work as funding is available.

For more information about the Willapa Hills State Park Trail, visit http://parks.state.wa.us/1023/Willapa-Hills-Trail

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