St. Paul Trail Bridge

St. Paul Trail Bridge

Awards: Association of Conservation Engineers Carl V. Anderson Conservation Project 2012 Award of Merit and the 2012 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Montana, Small Projects Category

The St. Paul Trail Bridge in the Kootenai National Forest Cabinet Mountains Wilderness is an innovative and unique structure built with the sure-footed assistance of pack mules, connecting National Forest patrons with the rugged outdoors. The 36-foot long bridge of glue-laminated stringers with deck planking was constructed to replace an existing native log bridge in danger of collapse. Individual components of the bridge weighed less than 100 pounds so that mules could transport the entire structure piece by piece.

Working closely with the Forest Service, Morrison-Maierle, Inc. developed a design that incorporates a post-tensioning system into the glue-laminated stringers. The post-tensioning system allows the stringers to withstand the significant snow loadings and provides a long-term solution to remote trail bridge construction restrictions. The public may now safely enjoy the benefits of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness trail system and can most certainly look forward to similar applications of this hybrid, post-tensioned packable trail bridge design.

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