We have some really GREAT NEWS to share with you all!
In a process that has taken nearly 4 years to complete, the FTC has installed a new bridge at the Whitewater River below the Upper Falls. The approach to the long-standing 60-ft steel bridge could be very tricky to negotiate when the river was high or the rocks were wet from rain – with occasional accounts of spills or falls! After a year of planning, the FTC purchased an 18-ft fiberglass bridge, drove to Pennsylvania to pick it up (to save shipping $), and placed it at the Duke Energy Bad Creek facility. Then the pandemic hit and the bridge remained there until this fall. Finally, FTC Special Projects Coordinator, Heyward Douglass was given the go-ahead to get it installed. With the help of Jerry Harvey, FTC engineer extraordinaire, and Royce Caines, FTC super volunteer, a plan was developed to get the bridge installed before Thanksgiving this year. With material help from Bad Creek engineer, Jerry DeWeese, and Mr. Allan Boggs (who does everything), the bridge parts were taken out of the crates and carried to the Whitewater Falls overlook. From this point various groups of volunteers carried the parts (many 18 feet in length) from the overlook to the river, others drilled holes in the rock and attached the base beams, some carried tread boards, and a group of college students from Ohio carried the 100 + lb handrails down the half-mile trail (over 40 volunteers total!). Although some “tweaking“ remains, the bridge was opened for hikers on Thursday, Nov 17!
A very BIG THANK YOU to all who played a part in getting this project completed — And especially to Heyward Douglass for organizing and completing this project!