The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented its Preservation Honor Award for the restoration of the Thompson Falls High Bridge in Thompson Falls, Montana (visit the Preservation’s site and view a video at http://www.preservationnation.org/take-action/awards/2011-national-preservation-awards/thompson-falls-high-bridge.html). The project is one of 23 award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2011 National Preservation Conference in Buffalo, New York. Working with Sanders County, Morrison-Maierle helped develop scenarios and ultimately plans and specifications for the rehabilitation of High Bridge.

Thompson Falls High BridgeSpanning 588 feet between the towns of Cherry Creek and Island Park, the 80-foot high Parker-Pratt-style Thompson Falls High Bridge has connected two remote communities on opposite shores of the Clark Fork River for nearly 70 years. The structure remained a local link until it was closed to motorized traffic in the early 1970s and, as the wood deck continued to deteriorate, was closed to bicycle and pedestrian access in 1979.

For the next 30 years, county leaders patiently saved Community Transportation Enhancement Program funding and secured federal, state and private grants, while rallying local support by forming a Bridge the Gap steering committee. During the winter of 2009 and 2010 − using innovative, cost-saving measures − the bridge was renovated and is now open once again.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.

The award was presented to the Bridge the Gap Committee and Sanders County Commissioners at the National Preservation Awards ceremony October 20, 2011. Co-recipients were Morrison-Maierle, Inc.; PPL Montana, and Wesslen Construction, Inc.

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