The oldest pinned Pratt truss bridge in the state has a new home in Provo Canyon.
Tuesday afternoon the bridge was set in place crossing the Provo River at Bear Canyon by its new owner, Steve Ault of American Fork. Ault owns Bear Canyon, and wants to use the bridge to get to his property. He is also hoping that some day, the bridge will be tied into the Provo River Trail.But Ault will have to take care of a little business with Wasatch County first: he didn't realize he needed a building permit for locating the bridge in the canyon, and a stop work order was placed on the bridge Wednesday.
The 68-foot-long bridge, built in 1907, formerly spanned the Weber River in Henefer. Because the bridge has retained its historic integrity, it is eligible for the National Register.
Earlier this year, the Utah Department of Transportation replaced the truss bridge. Rather than junk it, UDOT offered the bridge free of charge to anyone willing to relocate it.
Ault made a successful proposal for the bridge, and after "seven months of hell spent working out the details," finally got the bridge delivered to Provo Canyon last week.
"It is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened, in my opinion," Ault said. "Rather than cut up and scrap the bridge, UDOT is letting it be put to public use. I think this is unequalled in private and public participation."
Ault said the bridge will be open to foot and bicycle traffic, but not to vehicles.
Ault hired a crane at $200 an hour to lift the bridge from the highway down to the river.
He joked that he wanted the bridge for fame and glory, before revealing the real reason a man would want a canyon and a historic bridge: "I've got eight kids to raise." He had the land on which to let his kids roam. Now Ault has a way to get them there.