Tioga bridge nears completion

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- Hikers will now have even more places to explore on the North Umpqua.

The Tioga bridge project is near completion.

Crews had the new walkway on site Tuesday, getting ready to swing it into place over the river.

The original bridge washed out in a 1964 flood, and officials modeled the new pedestrian bridge after the old one.

Before the project, there was a 16-mile stretch of the North Umpqua Trail that didn't have an access point from Highway 138, and officials say the completed bridge will offer more hiking opportunities. Dan Latham, ODOT's public affairs spokesman, says the new bridge will make it easier for day trips up the river. "It's really exciting because we've had the trail on the other side of the road and before this bridge, people would have to do an overnight trip to walk the trail. But now, with this bridge here, they can make a day trip out of it."

The construction is causing some delays. Drivers can expect to wait for up to 20 minutes.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of September.

The bridge is a collaborative effort between ODOT and the BLM.