Rock Point Bridge plans public tonight

An open house in Gold Hill tonight will show the public how the state intends to remake the Rock Point Bridge and give people who use it opportunity to learn about a months-long closure of the structure beginning next month.

The meeting is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Gold Hill City Hall, 420 Sixth Ave.

State transportation officials will show details of a $3.9 million project to repair and rehabilitate the 89-year-old bridge, which has damaged side railings and is due for upgraded decks, said Gary Leaming, a state transportation department spokesman.

The goal is to keep the bridge's aesthetic beauty and meet current crash standards, Leaming said.

The bridge is just north of Gold Hill on Highway 99 and was built in 1920 for about $48,000. It was designed by noted engineer Conde McCullough using a reinforced concrete deck arch. It spans 505 feet over one of the rockiest points on the Rogue River, giving it its name.

Closure of the narrow two-lane bridge could last up to five months. Detours will be in place to reroute traffic toward the Gold Hill interchange at Exit 40 on Interstate 5. But the project is not slated to begin until after Labor Day to accommodate nearby businesses, Leaming said.

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