A (Closed) Bridge Over Trampled Waters

October 3, 2022

An interview with INLC Stewardship Director, Rose Richardson

Notice: Bridge closure at Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve, late October-November, 2022

The pedestrian bridge at Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve is being re-widened to accommodate maintenance or fire vehicles. The property will be the subject of significant habitat restoration and native fish reintroduction efforts and to do that work effectively and efficiently, we need to be able to bring vehicles onto the property from time to time. Bollards, large removable posts, will be installed to prohibit unauthorized vehicles from passing over the bridge onto INLC property.

When will the Waikiki Springs bridge be closed? How long?

The bridge will be closed in late fall (late October thru the end of November). We don’t know the exact dates yet but will update trail users as soon as we have firm dates. A lot of the work is dependent on permits, which were dependent on the plans that were just finished. As soon as those permits are approved, the construction crews will begin their work. We expect the bridge to be closed for about four weeks.

What does this mean for trail users? Will there be access to the preserve during construction?

Unfortunately, during this construction window, access to the preserve will be fully closed. It is important to stay off of the bridge, even when crews are not at work to prevent injury from construction materials or loose bridge components. As soon as the construction crews have completed their work, pedestrian traffic is welcome to return to normal use, but until then, it’s important to stay on the south side of the river. Please do not try to find alternative routes across the river to access the property. Doing so could damage important habitat features like shallow draws where young fish rear, beaver dens, wet meadows that are important for amphibian hibernation or create social trails that we try very hard to keep from forming.

Who is doing the work? What exactly are they doing?

We’ve worked with several environmental consultants, engineers, and WDFW biologists to get the bridge work planned and approved. But the ultimate construction work will be done by Garco Construction.

What measures are being taken to ensure the construction causes minimal disturbance to the riverbank and surrounding plant and wildlife habitat?

WDFW biologists and environmental planners have been part of every step of the bridge re-widening process. Our highest priority, as communicated to those planning partners, is habitat quality, particularly riparian and fish habitat in the Little Spokane River corridor. All work was assessed and designed with that in mind and the impact on the landscape will be fairly minimal. A couple of the willows growing immediately next to the bridge will be trimmed back, but those grow back fast, and with a vengeance. If rain creates muddy conditions and other portions of the property are damaged by equipment, which is an unlikely possibility, we’ll re-seed the area with native grass and forb seed mix to promote native plant growth. We don’t expect any other adverse impacts from this work.

Where can someone find updates on the bridge’s progress?

INLC will post updates on the progress at the bridge on the Waikiki Springs page of our website. To see that information, head here.