Keremeos’ iconic Red Bridge takes a beating

The bridge was damaged sometime over the weekend.

The iconic Red Bridge took a bit of a beating over the weekend.

Sometime Sunday holes were punched into the sheet metal on one side of the bridge.

Don Bartlett of Don and Anna’s Greenhouses just down the road from the bridge said he saw some big equipment being taken over the bridge, but couldn’t say for sure if it would have been the cause.

“It’s just tin. A driver would never know if they hit it. You wouldn’t feel it or hear it,” he said.

Bartlett said the other side of the bridge was damaged several years ago by a snowplow.

“It happens. A snow plow went through and ripped it up on the other side a few winters ago. They came and fixed it,” he said.

Argo workers were on site Monday, but not to replace the bright red tin.

READ MORE: Village to upcycle old bridge in beautification project

Adam Pearce, from Argo said a crew has been working on replacing the beams that hold the bridge up since November.

The bridge has been held up with a hydraulic jack since early winter as the crew diligently worked to replace the huge beams. Work should wrap up on the bridge in the next couple weeks.

“They (the beams) were pretty old. You can see some of them were being held together by metal bands so it was definitely time to replace them,” he said.

Until a sheet metal worker comes to fix the side orange cones are setup to warn motorists of the jagged edges. The damage is not structural.

The iconic Red Bridge was originally used as a train bridge to cross the Similkameen River by Northern Railway. The line ran from Oroville, WA to Keremeos.

When the train stopped running the bridge was abandoned and was later converted into a one-lane road bridge in 1961.

Over the years the 942-foot-long bridge suffered from ice jams several times.

In 2005 a $700,000 restoration and upgrade was undertaken before the community celebrated 100 years since it had been built.

Original pieces of the Red Bridge were saved by village staff and stored for more than decade. Pieces were recently used to revamp the Keremeos welcome sign at the top of the hill and will be used for a community notice board that will be setup in the pocket park downtown.

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Adam Pearce from Argo stands in front of new beams that been installed on the Red Bridge. (Tara Bowie)

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